Sep 052017
 

Rebecca Blanton is presenting Trans Women and Male Privilege. Check out her bio here.

Rebecca BlantonHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I strive to live my life authentically and openly so that others can see it is okay to be themselves. I have worked both inside and outside the political system for change and have taught in university to pass along what I know. These days, I work to bring stories to large audiences about people who have made changes themselves.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

When I was 11 I watched the Mayor of Castro Street for the first time. I realized that many people had gone before me to blaze a trail so my own fight would be less. Milk did it knowing he would pay a grave personal cost. I figure I owe it to the folks who came before me to continue the fight so that the generations which follow me will have an easier path.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?
In my lifetime the ability for people to live a little more openly and increasing the vocabulary we have to discuss sexuality has improved. When I was dealing with gender dysphoria and not being able to connect with being a “woman” there wasn’t event a word for what I was. It took another 20 years for people to start using the terms “agender” and “genderqueer.”

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
In the United States we still live in a society where very few people have control over their bodies. We control access to birth control, health care, and even things like food for poor people. Until we can get to a point where we recognize all people have the right to control their body, we can’t change the core of rape culture.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

I have spent most of my career looking for ways to give voice to marginalized people. Trans women have risen in visibility in the past two years. With that has come a barrage of attacks, not only from anti-queer folks and conservative factions but from women calling themselves feminists. I hadn’t seen a solid response to many of the attacks, in part because trans women were being excluded from the conversation. I wanted to create a forum where women from different backgrounds could respond to the critiques without coming under attack from TERFs.

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

The report about the needs of women veterans I wrote in 2012 is referred as “the Bible” at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Sep 012017
 

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

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

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

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

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

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

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

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

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

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

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

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

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

CatalystCon Partners With jessica drake For Downtown Women’s Center Donation Drive

 CCON West, CCON West 2015, fundraiser, Special Event  Comments Off on CatalystCon Partners With jessica drake For Downtown Women’s Center Donation Drive
Aug 312017
 

One of our favorite members of the CatalystCon community is jessica drake.  Many of you may know jessica from her work with Wicked Pictures and as a sex educator, but we also know her for her support of the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles.

CatalystCon founder Dee Dennis and jessica would like to invite everyone to take part in a special CATALYST DWC donation drive. During CatalystCon West, we will be collecting unused hotel toiletries and other items for the Center’s showers and welcome packages for new residents. For a list of the Center’s most needed items, please see the DWC Wishlist.

“For years I’ve been a supporter of The Downtown Women’s Center,” said jessica. “Not only do they house over 70 full time residents, they also run a huge day center, assisting the homeless women of Los Angeles, providing them with food, medical care, rehabilitational resources, and more! Thank you so much for helping out with such a great cause, and one I hold very dear to my heart.”

We’re happy to partner with jessica on this project and look forward to supporting this important cause during CatalystCon West.

 

 

Aug 312017
 

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

Shadeen Francis

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

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

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

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

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

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

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

Division, misinformation, and shame.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

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

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

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

Aug 302017
 

Erin Tillman is presenting Beautism and Status: How Stereotypes Influence Leadership, and Limit Choices… Recognizing Patterns and Reclaiming Power. Check out her bio here.

Erin Tillman

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I’m doing what I can to empower single people when it comes to dating, consent, and self-care. Things are evolving quickly in the dating game because of online dating and dating apps, and these rapid changes have a lot of single people feeling lost. I help singles navigate through the ever-changing, ever-evolving world of dating.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Any and all individuals who are fighting for equality.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

The conversation around consent has become mainstream. Millennials and post-millennials are generally aware of what consent means compared to older generations. There’s still work to be done, but the younger generations are more aware of issues around consent because there has been media coverage of high profile cases…and for better or worse, that brings awareness and gets a conversation started.

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

One big challenges that I see is that we still aren’t able to live and let live overall, but especially when it comes to sexuality. I hope one day we can get to a place where we’re all happy and fulfilled in our own lives, so much so, that we aren’t trying to negatively influence others’ lives.

Another major challenge is that consent is still a huge issue. Though there is more awareness around boundaries and consent, there are still concerns about how it is discussed, how to prevent potential assault, care for survivors, etc. I look forward to a time where consent violations are consistently seen as unacceptable in our society and conversations about boundaries are a regular part of human interactions.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

Privilege is a huge topic impacting so many areas of our society, and beauty (or the perception of beauty) is a privilege that impacts individuals in regards to social status, and even in seemingly unrelated areas like career advancement. Like all areas of privilege, it’s important to be aware of possible (appearance-related) privilege not only to put things into perspective, but also to find solutions to certain issues.

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

I’m fluent in french

Aug 292017
 

Nancy Sutton Pierce is presenting Sexy Does Not Have An Expiration Date. Check out her bio here.

Nancy PierceHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

We are either a warning or an example – I focus on being an example of all I believe makes life worth living. I speak and teach first from my heart and personal experience then frame it with the knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired along the way. It must be reasonable and doable for me to teach it.

My professional focus leans towards empowering women to grab hold of ownership over their lives and all their experiences; including, and not limited to, their pleasures and pains.

For the younger women who watch me closest (three daughters and three granddaughters to start with), I openly evolve without shame or self-limiting beliefs. For example, in my late 50’s earning my doctorate in human sexuality degree, traveling around the world to teaching women self-empowerment, and starting a You Tube Channel called Nearly Naked Yoga. Their eyes are wide open to the limitless possibilities of their own lives through my example. This may very well be my legacy; one of them anyway.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

In 2005 my husband and I, as new empty nesters, took a leap and went to a resort in Jamaica called Hedonism. Our experiences open our minds to possibilities unknown before, enhanced our intimacy and reawakened my sexuality to a new level.

At the time I was 48, already a grandmother and suddenly aware of the beliefs I had around aging and grand parenting that were greatly influencing my feelings of desire and desirability. I could hear my own mother’s values and beliefs around being an older woman creep into my consciousness. It became clear that by allowing this self-doubt I was stunting my freedom to fully express and embrace my inner sex goddess. This gave me reason to pause and rethink my old programming around being a woman, wife, mature, a grandparent, etc. Thank goodness, I did! That vacation changed me, us, my profession, and ultimately, my future.

Fast forward to 2017 – I am now the CEO of Exotic Lifestyle Retreats and for the past 10 years have been creating events for women, men and couples to go to Hedonism Resort in Jamaica. Guests are able to experience, with my team’s support and guidance, a chance to rethink, revise and reunite with their own sexual freedom of expression, on their terms. I’ve witnessed more awakenings than I can count and they never cease to amaze me. This, along with my 23-year Yoga practice/profession, has emerged as my Conscious Living Sexuality™ umbrella.

The two people who have been the greatest catalysts for me are my husband and muse, Mark. He has given me the gift of always loving me for being me – and all my evolutions. He lovingly calls me a “moving target”. One of the most powerful things he has said to me is, “If I were to direct your path in any way, I’d miss the chance of intimately knowing the real You. That is who I am interested in knowing.” Yea, he’s a keeper.

Dr. Ava Cadell is the second person who has been a catalyst of significant change in my life. The day I met Ava, in my quest to find fascinating judges for an erotic film festival I created in 2012, was to be a serendipitous moment in my life. At that first meeting, she asked me where I saw myself in five years, for which I replied, “sitting behind a desk like yours, doing the work you are doing”. Prior to that day, this was not a conscious thought for me thus surprising even myself.

Since that day, she has been the most generous and honest mentor. Her guidance led me on the path to earning my Doctorate in Human Sexuality and becoming a global Holistic Sexologist. Being able to add this new body of knowledge to my 30+ years as a registered nurse, health educator, yoga therapist, radio talk show host (The Conscious Living Show), and author, has enriched my life in countless ways. I have much to thank her for – most of all for being a beautiful example for all women to learn from.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

I’m in awe of the rapidly growing community and eclectic mix of sex positive, highly educated professionals who represent the field of Sexology. We are collectively accessing the powerful force of media to move discussions, covering all areas of sexuality, into living rooms rather than just bedrooms. As these conversations become more commonplace, there will become more comfortable and hold less shame and fear. The benefit is, our future generations will be better equipped to build healthy sexual attitudes thus healthier and happier intimate relationships.

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

Healthy, Honest Sex Education for our youth (and their parents) is a massive hurdle. So many pockets of our society are still in the dark ages thinking that keeping kids innocent, aka ignorant, will somehow protect them. Yet, access to the internet has changed the level of exposure to all information, including what is unhealthy and misinformed. Without comprehensive and real information, they turn to peers and porn for their education; and we all know how well that is working out.

Why is your Catalyst Con presentation topic importation to you?

Women are suffering from ignorant and self-serving media influence. They are buying into the belief they are not good enough, thin enough, young enough, perfect enough, etc. They’re flocking to surgeons and subjecting themselves to horrendous, often disfiguring, procedures and expensively ineffective treatments; all in search of a feeling of self-acceptance. This is a viscous, self-defeating cycle since the entire beauty industry makes its billions from our lack of self-acceptance.

Once we have subconsciously or consciously bought into these messages, we become the propagators. If we can propagate this message, I believe we can awaken to the impossibility of ever meeting the beauty industry’s proposed ideal of “what is acceptable”, and take back that power of self-love by being real and being real happy about it.

“Celebrate our uniqueness rather than attempt to look like another for acceptance to be earned.”

I frequently ask women, “What would it be like to embrace our tear drop breasts, stretched skin from our babies, smile and expression crinkles on our faces and our silvering hair? To be excited about our finally and magnificently matured body after creating a life?” The more we ask and imagine, the more we can create a new reality for womankind. The implication that these are flaws requiring correction, we do a harmful disservice to women everywhere who are distracted from living their lives for the pure joy and experience of living rather than for the pure acceptance of others.

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

As a yogini, I’m often mistaken for being passive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a fierce protectiveness against injustice, especially when it pertains to the vulnerable and voiceless. My family certainly knows this about me, however the outside world might not see this unless provoked. This makes me a strong advocate and loving supporter for the voiceless who wish to learn to speak again.

May 032017
 

Hello fellow Sex Workers! It’s time to start planning CatalystCon’s Second Annual Sex Worker Summit and we need you! The Sex Worker Summit is about Sex Work and for Sex Workers, so it only makes sense that Sex Workers would shape and plan it.

That’s where you come in. Do you have an area of expertise that you’d like to share with the community? Is there a current issue impacting our community that you’d like to teach on? What do you want to learn about or be taught? Is there someone you think might be interested in educating our community? What issues are most important to you right now?

The beauty, wisdom, and strength of our community is in its diverse makeup. Like last year, we want this year’s SW Summit panel to continue to reflect the face and experiences of our community. This means we’d like to see POC, Transgender, Queer, those living with disability, BDSM/Kink, exploitation survivors, and survival/street-based SW to the front, leading and helping us grow as a community.

We’d love to plan a day that reflects and looks like YOU, so tell us what you’d like to teach or see your community learn about. Send your thoughts and ideas to swl@catalystcon.com by June 1st.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Meg Munoz & jessica drake

Sep 082016
 

Headshots at CatalystCon

Robert BurkhartLiz BlackfordMary Prescott

Catalyst Con’s photographer Erika Kapin is offering a limited number of discounted headshot photo sessions for attendees of CatalystCon 2016!

Reserve your session by prepaying for one of the following packages:

–15-20 minute session. 1 Look/outfit. Includes 2 retouched high res image of your selection. $100 prepay. $130 registration at conference.
–1 hour session. Up to 3 looks/outfits. Includes 5 retouched, high res images of your selection. $200 prepay. $250 at conference.

Work samples at www.erikakapin.com

Email erika@erikakapin.com reserve your space or ask any questions!

Check out Erika on Instagram and Twitter

 

Sep 072016
 

Reid is presenting Sex Geek Conservatory Primer: Teaching Sex Ed Without FearHow To Make More Money as a Sex Educator: Dating Your Business Model  The Art of Accepting No with Monique Darling and Reid Mihalko and Finding Your Unique Voice and Brand to Wow Your Perfect Clients (and Create Bigger Value). Check out his bio here.

Reid MihalkoHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

For the past four years I’ve been geeking out hard on helping sex educators become better at the business of being educators and how to reach more people and make a better living doing what we love.
The way I see it, the more people’s lives we can touch, and the more peace of mind we can foster by paying our rents and bills, then our Industry as a whole becomes stronger, healthier, and happier. And happy, well-paid, self-expressed sex educators have more resources to be catalysts for the kind of change the planet needs right now!
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
Seeing how much my Mom and Dad loved each other and how “Love” wasn’t enough to keep them happy was the catalyst. Their growing pain -my mother would become an alcoholic, my father would become a workaholic, with things just getting worse and worse- and inability to heal it had me vow to never “be like them.”
My father also lost everything in his once successful business and my folks ended up living in their van with the family dog for several years, so I also “inherited” a great fear of finances and owning a business/“having a career.”
Lucky for me, I had friends and mentors who helped me overcome my fears and unleash my natural curiosity and geekery about people, business and life… And I’ve been able to make a career out of it, even to the extent of helping other sex educators win at business!
It’s very inspiring to help men and women not have to go through what I saw my parents go through.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?
Decolonizing sex education and how white people in our industry are learning why and how to help other white people be more inclusive and savvy with things like racism, classicism, abelism, ageism, sex workers rights, sexism, body shaming, etc.… These conversations and the actions/growth surrounding them are SO important!
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
One of the biggest challenges happening right now in our industry is how sex educators are handling consent violations, consent accidents, and predatory behavior inside our own community/industry.
We are at a lack of tools for how to invite our industry to heal itself. We need to be able to hold people accountable and take personal responsibility while giving people room to have their feelings and voice/be witnessed in healthy, empowering ways.
Our industry and the sex-positive movement, like other movements that came before us, is prone to “eating it’s own” and using banishment and bridge-burning as means of bringing justice and creating safety. The unfortunate outcome of this is that we’re at a loss for protocols and role modeling on how we invite community members to step-up, grow, heal, and improve.
I don’t have the answers, but I’ve been having lots of conversations with folks who specialize in geeking out on these things. I invite all sex educators to look into the areas of Restorative and Transformative Justice, Call-In and Calling-Out Culture, as well as other areas and communities and brilliant minds, and help us find tools and concepts that can empower our industry and help all of us upgrade how we hold space and role model for each other. These tools need to include how we can leverage social media to build bridges rather than burn them.
Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?
I look at getting better at business as a kind of self-care for sex educators. One of the most powerful ways to avoid burnout and stress is to not make the common mistakes I made “re-inventing the wheel” as I built my career.
Anything I can do to help my peers shorten their learning (and frustration) curves means there are more of us transforming the world! And THAT is important to me.
I’m teaching two pre-con workshops on business skills and public speaking  bad-assery. I’m also co-leading two presentations, one on how to say and receive No powerfully as well as a 2nd talk on how to use your personal life’s story as a sex educator to reach clients and create a career that’s a great fit for you… All of these discussions help sex educators build businesses that excite them and pay the bills rather than stress them out.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
I used to play flute in 7th grade band, but couldn’t read music at all, so I just faked it
 

Speaker Spotlight: Robert G. LeFavi, PhD

 CCON West, CCON West 2016, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Robert G. LeFavi, PhD
Sep 062016
 

Bob is presenting Treating low libido in women: What sexual health professionals should know about the latest research, with emphasis on hormonal therapies. Check out is bio here.

Robert LeFavi, PhDWhat do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

In the past decade, great strides have been made in the understanding of the causes of low libido in women. The most dramatic change in awareness has been in the importance of how hormone levels affect physical sensation, emotions, and human sexual response. This awareness is slowly moving from labs into medical practice, and is most often adopted into use by those treating patients with hormone replacement therapy. Those physicians often see dramatic results, and their treatments should be made known to wider populations and women of all ages.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?
There is simply no reason we have not been as focused on female sexual dysfunction than on male sexual dysfunction. And low libido is indeed sexual dysfunction for those who experience it. The information gained in recent research on hormones can change much of that. I am passionate about getting this information to as many sexual health practitioners as I can so the opportunities for successful treatment can be increased. The awareness of the importance of the hormone-sexual response interaction can empower all of us to be catalysts of hope for those women who suffer from low libido; this knowledge is indeed power.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
I have dual citizenship (Italy & U.S.) and was a competitor in the 2013 World CrossFit Games
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