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.”

Sep 092014
 

Renair Amin is presenting PRIDE & Prejudice – Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color. Check out Renair’s bio here.

Renair Amin Covington

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

I see myself as a catalyst for change because I am not the typical model that one would expect. Being an African-American, lesbian, married minister and parent opens a different level of dialogue. As such, I believe that simply my presence can serve as a catalyst for change, even if at the end of the day, it does not cause one to change. At least, it opened the conversation.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Mo Beasley was a catalyst for me. It was his desire to see me be able to do the work even with my move into ministry that changed my life. He was always authentic and honest in believing in me from the very beginning. That was truly a blessing.

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

In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing us is the perception of what is deemed normal. When one does not understand someone’s lifestyle choices, it is deemed as wrong, abnormal, and perverted. People are afraid to be free in who they are because of how they might be perceived. I cannot imagine that an imprisoned existence is one our Creator desired for us to have…

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 that the increased number of states that now have gay marriage or same-sex civil unions has been a positive change in the world of sexuality. I remember thinking, “Wow, Virginia?” Unfortunately, Viriginia’s recent victory has been appealed but there was a time that it would not have even gotten that far. Now I wonder what is truly possible.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic PRIDE & Prejudice – Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color to CatalystCon West?

I believe the conversation around homophobia is still a prevalent one, especially in communities of color. I know that we have other things to focus on as well such as racism, however, I am clear that we also are experiencing high murder rates in our trans community, and the bullying/suicide numbers still continue to climb. The work is not finished and may never be…

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

The fictional character I relate to the most is the Invisible Man.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Sep 052014
 

Luc Wylder is presenting Alternative Solutions: Sex Surrogate Partner Therapies (SPT). Check out Luc’s bio here.

Luc Wylder

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

I have a degree in psychology, am a trained surrogate partner therapist, and an erotic filmmaker for Adam & Eve; the largest distributor of adult products in America. We believe that modeling sexually positive human behavior is one of the most effective methods of sex education. I have been able to reach out to a large number of sexually inquisitive minds by creating sex positive videos for over 20 years.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Living so close to the kinky underworld of Manhattan during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s had a huge influence on my views of sexuality. Sigmund Freud, Masters and Johnson, Alfred Kinsey, Richard Alpert, the Dalai Lama, and Hugh Hefner were all catalysts to my perspective.

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

Labeling and the “coming out” movement are both issues of concern for me. Sexuality is a multi faceted aspect of who we are; yet, today, so many want to compartmentalize sex. I believe this limits options in a world of many possibilities. Live, love, laugh, but drop the labels.

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?

Clearly, the progress we have made in the area of civil rights and gay marriage is of immense significance to our society. Also, awareness of surrogate partner therapy has increased dramatically, since the release of the academy award nominated film, “The Sessions”.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Alternative Solutions: Sex Surrogate Partner Therapies (SPT) to CatalystCon West?

People are suffering out of ignorance and misinformation regarding surrogate partner therapy and sexual dysfunction. We are on a mission to change that.

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

I had a very traditional Irish, catholic upbringing, was an alter boy, and lived with Benedictine monks for 6 years of my life. I have also been sober for over 29 years.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Aug 292014
 

Alexandra Silk is presenting Alternative Solutions: Sex Surrogate Partner Therapies (SPT). Check out Alexandra’s bio here.

Alexandra Silk

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

May people in the US do not know Surrogate Partner Therapy exists, yet SPT is accepted as part of the healthcare system in other countries such as Australia and Israel. By continuing to share our knowledge about Surrogate Partner Therapy through lectures, interviews and speaking engagements, perhaps our persistent crusade to educate the public will one day acknowledge SPT as part of the US healthcare system as well.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Vena Blanchard, President of International Professional Surrogates Association. Vena was the vehicle for me to become 1 of the 32 working IPSA Certified Surrogate Partner Therapists in the US.

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

My biggest challenge is the therapeutic community does not truly understand what SPT is and how healing SPT can be for their clients; especially, female clients. Female surrogates get many referrals to work with male clients yet male surrogates receive no female client referrals.

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 increase sales of the female condom has more than quadrupled this year according to the makers of FC2 female condom. What a wonderful invention! Also, home-use STD and HIV self testing kits being sold now at commercial retailers across the nation.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Alternative Solutions: Sex Surrogate Partner Therapies (SPT) to CatalystCon West?

Surrogate Partner Therapy is a topic that is greatly misunderstood along with many misconceptions. It’s important to me to bring clarity to an ambiguous profession that has existed since 1970. SPT can be life transforming! Helping people is greatly important to me​. ​Sharing my knowledge with you is one way I can contribute back to the world.

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

I love teddy bears and have a large collection.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Aug 192014
 

Allison Moon is presenting Self-Publishing for Fun and (Maybe) Profit. Check out Allison’s bio here.

Allison Moon

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

I see all informed people as catalysts for change. Our job is to correct misinformation and spread truth, sometimes actively, and sometimes just by living our lives unapologetically. I think we as sex workers, sex educators, and sex-positive artists and activists have the opportunity to role model healthy choices and behaviors.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I realized young that most people don’t grow up with the kind of support systems they need to grow into healthy, pleasure- and sex-positive people. As a child, I was the only resource for information in my peer group. I learned that it doesn’t get a whole lot better or easier even after puberty. My catalyst was rejecting the shame society tried to place on my shoulders and embrace education instead.

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

We need to realize that reproductive rights, sex worker rights, and queer rights don’t affect everyone in the same way. We must embrace the nuance of how sexuality plays a role in our individual journeys, and find ways to amplify the voices of those who may not experience their struggle in the same way we’re used to.

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 think the march of progress is always heading in the right direction, despite some loud and angry voices wishing to impede that progress. I think the conversations that are happening in small communities: Cons addressing harassment, feminist spaces addressing racism, straight men holding each other accountable for misogyny, individuals of all kinds learning how to get called out without shutting down. It’s these intimate conversations that will ultimately help change the culture at large.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Self-Publishing for Fun and (Maybe) Profit to CatalystCon West?

Self-publishing is one of the most exciting new methods of democratizing art and information. The amplification of all voices is necessary to further the sex-positive culture. I want to help people learn how to get their message out into the world using the best tools we’ve ever had for doing it.

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

I was on track to become a neuroscientist until I had a traumatic experience vivisecting a rat and changed my course.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Aug 142014
 

Mo Beasley is presenting PRIDE & Prejudice – Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color, Sex & Parenting: Sex Positive Parenting in a Sex Negative World and Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. Check out Mo’s bio here.
Mo Beasley

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

I try to pose the more challenging questions of life and sexuality through speaking, teaching, and live performance. Questions such as, “how do you re-define, manhood, culture, sexuality…existence for the 21st Century and beyond?”

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I have 4 significant catalyst that have lead me to places like CatalystCon.

  • Being a teen cast member of a Planned Parenthood theater troupe (Y.E.T. Youth Expression Theater) was a catalyst that showed me the power of art as change. “Thank you for showing me suicide is not an option”, was an anonymous note left on a road box after one of our shows. That moment changed my life. Lead me down this road of art and activism as my way life. As a way to enrich and enlighten others, and myself.
  • A 6’7″ gay white cowboy from Kansas who was a mentor of mine after graduating college with a theater degree, was also a catalyst for me. He taught me the art of Love as action while teaching me to stage manage shows from regional theater to Broadway. We have a standing deal to check our respective communities when they use the “N” or “F” word in our presence. “Where’s the Love in it?” was the question he always asked me when I was about to blast someone for fucking up on the job or attacking me in my personal life. Dr. King and Ghandi were guiding forces in his life and work. I adopted their techniques by association.
  • My “Uncle Rueben” a street corner philosopher/hustler/wise man/father-figure/no good nigga who scared me straight when I attempted to adopt the drug trade as a career. “You Don’t belong out here in these streets. You’re talented. You supposed to do something else. Go do it!! …before I cave in your chest!” I’m here at CatalystCon because of his belief in me.
  • Audre Lorde’s essay, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power“. It is a guiding light in the creation and evolution of “Mo Beasley’s UrbanErotika.”

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

Ignorance is, and will always be, our biggest challenge. Patriarchy runs a close second. Anything counter to the sexual acceptance of Men of Power and Privilege is demonized in western, and eastern society.

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?

  • 19 states legalizing gay marriage
  • More and more atheletes/celebrities coming out of the closet publicly

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic PRIDE & Prejudice – Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color, Sex & Parenting: Sex Positive Parenting in a Sex Negative World and Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance to CatalystCon West?

Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance
As moderator of the opening plenary I hope to facilitate a piercing conversation amongst an eclectic panel, and audience, of sex positive agents for change. Wrestling with the most important questions is more important than quick answers to the complex challenges of fostering a sex positive world.

Sex & Parenting: Sex Positive Parenting in a Sex Negative World
If we wish to have a more sex positive/healthy future one of the best places to nurture such wishes are in the minds of the young people we are raising as parents, teachers, and mentors.

PRIDE & Prejudice – Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color
The issue of Homophobia in communities of color is an urgent issue that lives way under the radar of sexuality rights and activism. Black and Hispanics make up the majority of poor people in America and their LGBTQ children are even poorer because they are cast out of their homes/families when their sexuality is revealed, or uncovered. Our homosexual family members are being killed and persecuted in alarming numbers. Way too often its members of their own family. We MUST shed the brightest light on this problem, in hopes of being a catalyst for greater acceptance.

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

I have been a HUGE comic book geek since I was a boy!! X-Men RULE!! :-D. Even in my “geek-dom” I was drawn to a lore rooted in the struggle against Xenophobia and Bigotry. Go figure, LOL!

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Aug 122014
 

Kait Scalisi is presenting Sex, Dating, Kink, and the ‘C’ Word and How to be a Sex Positive Warrior in Public Health. Check out Kait’s bio here.
Kaitlyn Scalisi

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

My goal is to bring sex-positivity to the fields of public health, medicine, and violence prevention. I want to cause broad shifts in how practitioners in these fields think about, talk about, and approach sex, pleasure, health, prevention, and response. I’m doing this by taking a broad approach to reach people at various points in their training and in a multitude of settings.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Megan Andelloux, Debby Herbenick, and Kate McCombs are my three biggest sex ed catalysts. Seeing their work affirmed for me that my ideas, dreams, and goals are both valid and achievable. Additionally, because each has a very different approach to sex ed, I knew I could do it “my way.”

Beyond that, the cancer patients I worked with inspire me each and every day. Their sharing their sexual stories is the reason I began researching sex and chronic illness. I carry their stories with me to this day.

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

Not approaching our work as a business as well as the lack of business resources available that incorporate solutions to the unique challenges created by this field. I’m so excited that resources like Tristan Taormino’s Sex Ed Boot Camp and Reid Mihalko’s Sex Geek Summer Camp are now available and really think they are just the beginning of a shift within our field to making this work sustainable and fulfilling on all levels.

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 last year has seen some incredible and exciting policy changes and recommendations. These include the WHO’s endorsement of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), Medicare lifting the coverage ban on gender-affirming surgery, and Obama signing the LGBT nondiscrimination order. Additionally, we’ve seen more and more states allow same-sex marriage and an increase in the conversation around campus sexual assault.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Sex, Dating, Kink, and the ‘C’ Word and How to be a Sex Positive Warrior in Public Health” to CatalystCon West?

Dating, Sex, Kink, and the ‘C’ Word
Simple: people have questions and not a lot of great places to find answers. When I worked with cancer patients, I experienced this massive divide between what the patients wanted to know about sex and what the healthcare providers knew and discussed. It really showed me that healthcare providers needed more training and patients needed more resources and places to ask questions. So for this panel, we wanted to reach both providers and patients to offer some guidance around common issues and what to do about them.

How to be a Sex Positive Warrior in Public Health
During my public health training, I spent much of my time lamenting about how the field was so sex-negative. I understood a lot of the ‘why’ behind this, but that didn’t stop the fact from bothering me. When I found others who had similar views, I knew it was time to really start doing something about it! Since Catalyst draws such a varied audience, we wanted to create a space to share our experiences and ideas as well as to see what’s worked for others. After all, the more of us who work towards this goal, the more likely we are to bring about impactful and lasting change.

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

I adore Latin music and my favorite rhythm is the salsa (followed closely by cumbia). I don’t get out and dance enough!

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

CatalystCon West Announces Pre-Conference Business Seminar

 CCON West, CCON West 2014, Press Release  Comments Off on CatalystCon West Announces Pre-Conference Business Seminar
Aug 082014
 
Piracy Stops Here Representatives to Address Trademark, Copyright, and Counterfeit Issues

CatalystCon West announces a business seminar to be held on Friday, September 12 from 2-3:30pm. Protecting Your Original Ideas: Trademark, Copyright, and Counterfeit Sales will be presented by Peter Phinney and Jeff Carter of the online piracy watchdog group Piracy Stops Here. 
 
The 90-minute “crash course” seminar will clarify the rights of business owners to protect what they create, and cover issues currently at play online that are undermining well-known brands and cutting into the bottom line of pleasure products manufacturers in all market niches.  Through hand outs, case studies, and anecdotes from the trenches, professionals fighting digital piracy, trademark and patent infringement, and counterfeit sales online will reveal what’s being stolen, how it’s being stolen, how the internet is helping to facilitate this illicit activity and ways of working to combat it.
 
“Counterfeiting is running rampant across the Internet and we think it’s time creators take back control of their products’ distribution,” said Phinney. “We’re stepping up to help them do so and this seminar will explain how.”
 
The seminar will be free and open to the public, but registration is recommended. CatalystCon West will take place at the Westin LAX from September 11-14, and registration for the conference and other pre-conference activities is currently open at CatalystCon.com/register.
Aug 072014
 

Joan Price is presenting Senior Sex: Lusting, Dating, and Mating and Envelope-Pushing Erotica: How Sexy Stories Can Change the World. Check out Joan’s bio here.
Joan Price

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

My mission is to talk out loud about older-age sex – to get the information out there about how to resolve the inevitable challenges that come with staying sexual in aging bodies, to encourage my generation to maintain or reclaim sexual pleasure, and to help younger generations stop viewing aging as the end of sex!

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Falling in love at age 57 with artist Robert Rice, then 64, was my original catalyst – this is why I started writing and speaking about senior sex. We had seven exhilarating and passionate years together until I lost him to cancer. This relationship changed my life in every way – personally and professionally. Now the ground swell of interest and support from my generation is my catalyst: people who continue to ask me questions and share their stories.

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

We tend to think all’s right with the world when we’re together in an environment like CatalystCon, but out in the real world, there’s still a lot of ignorance and prejudice. I wish we could just celebrate whatever consensual form our sexuality takes and not judge each other. What a world that would be!

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?

Each year gets better as we talk and write about sex and insist on our right to be exactly who we are. The Internet, the sex-positive blogosphere, and conferences like CatalystCon make it easier for sex educators, sex activists, and sex-positive individuals to find each other. We don’t always agree (and when sex activists disagree, watch out!), but as long as we can listen as well as speak out, we’ll be all right.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic Senior Sex: Lusting, Dating, and Mating to CatalystCon West?

Our society tends to view seniors as sexless or as ludicrous and pathetic if they are sexually active (or wanting to be). I want to lend my loud voice to counteract that view.

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

People seem surprised when they meet me that I’m only 4’10”. When I used to teach high school, I would tell my students, who towered above me, “I’m taller when you get to know me.” I still think that’s true.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Aug 052014
 

Annie Sprinkle is presenting ECOSEX! Make the Earth Your Lover: Heat Up Your Sex Life as You Slow Global Warming and Closing Keynote Plenary Address: Afternoon Tea with Club 90: Their Story, Their Legacy, Their Love. Check out Annie’s bio here.
Annie Sprinkle

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

My partner Beth Stephens and I created a new field of sex research we coined Sexecology, which explores the places sexology and ecology intersect in our culture, and we are developing, exploring, pollinating ideas, and teaching about ecosexual art, theory, practices and activism. Shifting the metaphor from Earth as mother to Earth as lover creates a paradigm shift in some people that is really delicious and satisfying.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Whores are my heroes. I worked as a prostitute 22 years, and always loved the amazing whores I have met over the years. Margo St. James launched the prostitutes rights movement in the USA. In 1975 she introduced the idea here that prostitution be decriminalized. That idea was such a radical idea then. She taught me that prostitution was very political, and was a feminist issue, and about race and class. Whores are an amazing, special, talented, wise group of folks of all genders who specialize in pleasure.

3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?< I’d like to see sexologists, sex workers, adult entertainers, sex radicals... get a little more engaged and involved in environmental issues, in fun and sexy ways. Because without clean air, good drinking water, nutritious foods, and healthy soil, we’re all going to be in deep do do. I believe that the sex positive community has a lot to offer the environmental movement to make it more seductive and powerful. 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?

Today there are many wonderful conferences about sexuality of all kinds. Some address sexuality in general, some are extremely niche. It’s fantastic that absolutely anyone interested in any aspect of human sexuality can come to a conference like Catalyst Con, meet like-minded people, be inspired, emboldened, supported, educated, titillated, have a blast, and so much more.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic ECOSEX! Make the Earth Your Lover: Heat Up Your Sex Life as You Slow Global Warming to CatalystCon West?

The Club 90 keynote aims to bring an herstorical perspective to CCon attendees. If we don’t know the history of sex, we are doomed to repeat it. Imagine if today the very act of making a porn movie was cause for arrest like it was in the 50s, 60’s, 70s, even 80s.? If we don’t build powerful support networks, our hard-won freedoms can be taken away in a year or two. That said, we made sure we had a hell of a lot o’ fun attaining those freedoms.

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

When I was a porn star and pin up model I often covered my anus with my finger or with my panties because I had some unattractive hemorrhoids. When I became domestic partners with Beth and I got health insurance through her job, she got me the best present a girlfriend could give, a pretty new anus. Hemorrhoid surgery is like a face lift for the anus. I highly recommend it when needed.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

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