March 2013 in Washington, DC
- CatalystCon Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance
- CatalystCon Closing Keynote: Afternoon Tea with Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence
- The Burned-Out Sex Professional
- Diagnosing the DSM
- Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality
- Entrepreneurial IQ: 10 keys to designing an unconventional career in sexuality
- Ex-Gay No Way! Practically Maneuvering Through the Rhetoric of “Reparative Therapy”
- The Facts About Measure B and How It Impacts Us All
- Female Sexual Freedom & Web 2.0: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Feminism
- Feminist Porn: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
- The Fifty Shades Phenomenon and Its Effect on Our Social Sexual Behavior
- Getting In (Business) Bed With Buddies – Protect Yourself
- Healing and the new Monogamy
- The history of sex education in Sweden and the development of sex ed for Swedish queer women
- How (and Why) to Be a Sex Positive Parent
- How to Be a Top Presenter
- How to Be an Ally to Sex Workers in Theory and Practice
- How to Become a Successful Erotic Writer
- Language Matters: How To Speak Sex-Positivity So That People Listen
- Making Comprehensive Sex Education into Inclusive Sex Education
- Male Circumcision: A Humanist Perspective on the Removal of Foreskin
- Ok, Polyamory’s Been Outed! Now What Do We Do?
- The Online Activist: Ready, Set, TWEET!
- The Piracy of Sex
- PRIDE & Prejudice: Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color
- Relationship Models for the 21st Century
- Sex and Sexuality from a Trans Perspective
- Sex in the Media: From Pitch to Print; What Does Sex Really Sell?
- Sex with Benefits: Progressive Swinging
- Sex Work and Disability
- The Silver Rainbow: Working with LGBT Seniors
- Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities
- Spiritual Sexuality: Ending the War Between Religion and Sex
- Tales from the front line: Everything you wanted to know about “trafficking” but didn’t know whom to ask
- Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex
- Toxic Toys
- What’s So Special About Sex?
- What’s Your “Bi-Q”?
- When To Give It Away and When To Charge For It: Knowing Your Worth, Assessing Others’, And How To Make Ends Meet As a Sex-Positive Professional
- Why Talk About Sex And Disability Anyway?
Special Presentation Workshops:
Click here to register!
The Burned-Out Sexuality Professional
Amy Jo Goddard #cconburnout
Sexuality professionals, like other helping professionals, are famous for giving till they bleed and then wonder why they are sick, broke, burned-out and feel like they are ready to turn in their sexy uniforms for a desk job! In a field where we give so much of ourselves and part of our work is teaching people how to receive, we are rendered totally ineffective when we are depleted. You can’t give what you don’t have to give.
Too many of us pretend everything is great when we are tired, harried and frustrated. If you are burned out, or slowly burning your candle down to the nub, you’ve got to get a handle on your self-care practices AND practice what you preach. The more you give to you, the more you receive. The more you receive, the more you give to your clients and students. The more you give, the more that comes back to you and fills your pockets.
This workshop will help you identify your own cycle of burnout that keeps you broke and tired and create a self-care plan that will not just support you personally, but will propel your work into a place of abundance and expansion. As a sexuality professional, if you do not engage in self-care practices that support you with ease, you can’t support your students and clients effectively. Let’s share strategies for keeping our own cups full and support one another to thrive so that none of us are the burned-out sexuality professional.
Diagnosing the DSM
Lillith Grey #cconDSM
Somewhere, sometime, you’ve probably heard someone in the lifestyle talking about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).The manual is used by mental health practitioners to determine whether or not someone has a mental illness, and, not surprisingly, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the inclusion of diagnostic criteria for disorders such as masochism and fetishism, as well as diagnoses for gender-related disorders. This workshop will introduce participants to how the DSM is written (and by whom), and will explore real-life issues related to the inclusion of these controversial diagnoses. A brief introduction to basic research principles will be included to help participants become more prepared to provide their voice to the growing body of scholarly research.
Size and body image can have profound and sometimes debilitating effects on a person’s sexual self-esteem and self-expression. Internalized shame and feelings of inadequacy are often super-charged by the constant stream of external judgment, a barrage of media and marketing pressure (individuals are exposed to an estimated 300,000 negative images or comments about weight each year), and socially acceptable prejudice against those who don’t conform. People of size can be left feeling like a different species, and when they speak up, are often silenced by people citing health issues or the latest diet trend. Plus-size youth are subjected to additional peer pressures that include not only size-shaming but also sex-based shaming.
Releasing the internalized shame and improving our body image can go a long way towards changing this pattern. When people accept themselves as they are, and learn to love themselves and their bodies, they can start making a difference in the world. Shame creates stresses which are hard on the body and on relationships with others, and can reduce mental focus and initiative.
In this panel, we’ll examine the effects of internal and external shame, share statistics and discuss approaches and techniques for reclaiming confidence and self-love, as well as dealing with negative pressure from both society and those closest to us.
Entrepreneurial IQ: 10 keys to designing an unconventional career in sexuality
Francisco Ramirez, MPH #cconIQ
Got an innovative career in mind but no clue how to achieve it? Whether it’s a career as a trailblazing consultant, business owner, tv/media personality or other entrepreneur, learn the steps it takes to make your big dream a reality. Participants will learn skills for: identifying and refining one’s big vision, drawing a road map, and surrounding themselves with the right people at the right time. This workshop will be interactive and experiential!
Get tips on how to:
- Think big and dream up a unique career that fits your strengths;
- Design a personal road map to achieving your career goals;
- Build a supportive interdisciniplary team;
- Stand out in the world of freelancing/consulting, including: pros and cons of consulting, setting fees, negotiating contracts.
This workshop is ideal for those who are newer to entrepreneurship or for anyone who has a fabulous idea that they want to see come to life!
Ex-Gay No Way! Practically Maneuvering Through the Rhetoric of “Reparative Therapy”
Dr. Jallen Rix #cconexgay
From Marcus Bachmann notorious Minnesota clinic to your local megachurch, misguided and poorly-trained counselors offer the promising of “fixing” LGBTQ youth. While California may soon become the first state to create a law that effectively bans Sex Orientation Conversion Efforts (SOCE) on LGBTQ youth, too often the media represents this therapy as a valid alternative for those questioning their orientations — or their families.Can we really “pray away the gay?” Sexologist Jallen Rix certainly tried, but nearly killed himself in the process. He has now emerged as one of the leading experts on helping people recover from the damaging effects of the ex-gay movement. Hear Dr. Rix’s story, learn to discern fact from fiction, and leave with the tools to give guidance on a healthy understanding of sexual orientation. With key information and education, reparative therapy can be taken off our societal landscape altogether.
In November 2012 the voters of Los Angeles County approved Ballot Measure B, also known as the “condoms in porn” law. However, Measure B goes much further then adult entertainment. B is a broad attack not only on pornography but also consensual commercial sex between couples of all orientations. It criminalizes private behavior in the bedroom and takes us back to the days prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas when consensual sodomy was still a crime. Is Measure B a slippery slope that might lead to more government intrusion in bedrooms across the country? We’ll discuss the current status of the Measure B fight as well as its implications for the future and the lessons learned from the No on B campaign.
Female Sexual Freedom & Web 2.0: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Feminism
Kimberly A. Harchuck #cconweb
In probing the seemingly paradoxical crossroads of law, sociology and technology, we will beg the question: is the online sex industry the latest wave in feminism?
Between social media, online escorting and countless pornographic websites, the Internet Age has allegedly forced women into an over-sexualized archetype. Sex, a topic that was once a most forbidden taboo, has been thrust into everyday life thanks to a digital network that essentially eliminated all germane geographical – and ultimately social and cultural – boundaries. Images and services that were once confined to clandestine dialogue and seedy hotels are now front and center in your living room all day, every day. What does this mean for society as a whole? We’ve seen entire industries thrive as a result of capitalizing on web-based sex enterprise, but many feel it has been at the expense of almost a century’s worth of battling for women’s rights. This presentation argues the contrary. The sex industry of today hasn’t harmed equal rights at all; in fact, when utilized properly, online adult entertainment has the power to actually foster a new wave of feminism. From empowering the escort industry to a lesson in female-friendly erotica supply and demand, from bridging the wage gap to sexual, fiscal and personal autonomy – the Internet has provided women with a feminist renaissance and it’s time to start using it to our advantage.
Constance Penley, Tristan Taormino, Dylan Ryan, Sinnamon Love, Mireille Miller-Young #cconporn
How has feminist pornography shifted the landscape of erotic representation? Is it destined to be marginalized and dismissed, as anti-porn feminists have done for years, or can it be a tool for education and liberation? What are the political ramifications for feminists who study, teach, create, and perform in porn? This panel places porn scholars and porn producers and performers in conversation with one another to discuss feminist porn as a philosophy, a practice, a movement, and an industry. We seek to challenge entrenched dichotomies like academic and sex worker and explore how we can create coalitions to support each other’s work and expand awareness of this growing field.
This panel will look at the consuming psychology inspired by the Fifty Shades trilogy phenomenon and discuss new Fifty Shades-motivated shoppers coming into an adult store for the first time, as well as return customers.
More than a decade ago, The Sex and The City episode “The Turtle And The Hare” introduced viewers to the Rabbit vibrator. Shoppers responded with demand and sex toy manufacturers responded with supply. While consumers’ bedrooms buzzed night and day, so did the factories, knocking off and churning out new variations of the Rabbit.
The panel will discuss why the Fifty Shades phenomenon is more than just a “flash in the pan” and look at it from the points of view of a sex toy manufacturer, retailer, sex educator and writer of erotica. People of all ages that have never been into an adult boutique, are now walking in, having conversations with complete strangers and purchasing sex toys. How are Fifty Shades readers responding to the sex scenes in the trilogy and what could this mean for greater acceptability of BDSM/sexual practices in North America and beyond? Is the Fifty Shades phenomenon reaching only soccer moms in the suburbs and how has this demographic being inspired by the Fifty Shades wave and to what degree? Are college-age students the next consumer? What are they doing? What are they buying? How are they shopping? What guidance might they need from educators, social media sources and bloggers as they become the next major consumers of sex toys?
Getting In (Business) Bed with Buddies – Protect Yourself
We’re all familiar with ways of protecting ourselves from those who wish to do us harm, but what about protecting ourselves from our closest friends? If you are, have been or one day may be in business with a friend – whether it’s hiring them to do some work on your website, to film a scene with you, or to help you run your entire business- this one’s for you. In an industry where trust among colleagues and partners is so vital, it is still crucial to know what steps you can take before you have a problem when doing business with friends, and what steps you must take once the problems arise. We’ll also examine why so many of us shy away from working alone and how we can better value ourselves and our work.
Healing and the new Monogamy
Tammy Nelson, PhD #cconmonogamy
Almost fifty percent of married people still divorce. Many of these marriages end as a result of infidelity, perhaps as high as one third. Over half of all married couples will experience infidelity at some point in their marriage. Forty percent of Americans say marriage as an institution is “obsolete.” Does this mean that as a society we are no longer maintaining monogamy as a norm? Or are we just simply incapable of sexual fidelity in committed partnerships?
And how do we help couples who want it? Betrayal happens in marriage, open relationships, polyamory and anywhere that commitments are made. There are specific trauma reactions to being hurt that are unparalleled in any other type of hurt. And there are specific stages of recovery, both for individuals and couples who are recovering. And for the outside lover, ending an affair with integrity and healing has special and separate meaning as well.
Can affairs and the betrayal that is created by dishonesty, hiding and lying, be a cultural imperative, created to enhance the secrecy inherent in infidelity? Can couples after an affair move into open sexual and emotional behaviors, have sexual and emotional relationships with others as long as there is complete honesty and disclosure and does it work?
More and more couples are broadening their understanding of what commitment and monogamy means to them, without giving up the desire for a long-term, committed relationship with one person. This new monogamy could lead to a new development in society and sexual freedom altogether. But we need to know how to heal the hurt first. Find the skills and strategies necessary to create a new conversation in partnerships.
Therapists and healers can help couples determine new monogamy agreements that include updated guidelines of honesty and disclosure, privacy and secrecy directives and other issues of integrity. The new monogamy is fluid, honest, pleasure based, experimental and joyful.
An odessy of sex education in Sweden, it’s origins and the development of queer sex education today.
Sweden has a long and proud tradition of frank and public sex education. The first manual of sex education for elementary school was published in 1945 and it has been compulsory since 1955. In the beginning it was characterized by a strict moralistic tone and the importance of sexual abstinence was strongly emphasized. Today Swedish sex education is quite progressive and includes various aspects of human sexuality such as masturbation, sex in and outside romantic relationships and safer sex in addition to anatomy and physiology. Queer people were rarely directly addressed in Swedish sex education until about 30 years ago. The AIDS crisis brought about sex education aimed at hiv prevention for men who have sex with men but sex education for lesbian, bisexual and queer women was rarely heard of until about ten years ago and still evolving. The construction of sex, gender and sexuality is generally essentialist and has contributed to the exclusion of queer women. We are working to find a new, queer and non normative approach to sex education for women who have sex with women. As sex educators in Sweden we are of course inspired by our American colleagues but find that our approach, especially to safer sex advice, differs significantly to that of many other sex educators.
We wish to invite you all to discuss the future of queer and non normative sex education beyond an essentialist view of sex and gender.
Kids these days! They’re exposed to sex and sexuality in ways that we never were. Sexting, Youtube, online porn, advertising, even kids TV shows are sexualized in ways that children may not understand. And let’s not forget the politics of both our government and school-yards across the country. All of these factors and more make the challenge of raising children who feel safe in their own sexuality, and grow into adults who are empowered in their sexuality, a daunting task. This panel of experts on sex-positive parenting will provide a functional framework to identify sexual messages that children face, and how-to tactics to talk to kids about sex and sexuality. Sharing funny anecdotes and academic knowledge, these savvy sex-positive parents have been there, done that, and will help you do it too.
How to Be a Top Presenter
Charlie Glickman PhD #cconpresenter
Great teaching doesn’t happen by accident. The skills you need to be a great teacher are a lot easier to learn than you think. Whether you’re just thinking about becoming a sex educator or you’ve been doing it for years, come learn three tools that will help you create effective lesson plans, enhance learner motivation, and design great exercises for your workshops and classes. This framework is flexible and adaptable to any topic or audience, while also giving you the foundation to make sure you stay on target. Whether you work with groups of 3 or 300, you’ll be able to bring your teaching to the next level, increase participant satisfaction, develop more confidence and create outstanding workshops.
Are you interested in learning how to be an ally–or a better ally–to sex workers, but frustrated with the lack of a clear path of action? Do you want to build stronger bridges between sex workers and allies?
We’ll cover practical ways you can be a stronger ally to sex workers, how to build alliances with intersecting, marginalized, and mainstream communities (as an ally or as a sex worker), as well as how to write about sex work topics with sensitivity and class. You’ll learn what methods work best to make your space, event, or publication a more welcoming place for sex workers. We’ll also discuss the internal barriers that keep many of us from fully stepping up as allies, including the ways in which feminism and sex work intersect–and how those seeming conflicts can make both movements stronger.
Hear authors who’ve written and sold hundreds of erotic stories dish on what you need to make your work stand out. Topics will include: getting started, where to find calls for submissions, how much money you can expect to make how to market your work, rights, self-publishing and ebooks, and more.
Language Matters: How To Speak Sex-Positivity So That People Listen
Marcia Baczynski #cconlanguage
Those of us in the sex-positive world are passionate about talking about issues of desire, consent and safety. We know how to use inclusion-based language, and we’re ready to fight for a sex-positive world. So why is it so hard sometimes? In a word: Language. In a sex-negative world, we must bridge the gap to reach people where they’re at, and help them understand sexuality in positive, empowering terms that inspire them.
In this session, we’ll explore questions such as: When the majority of the world is sex-negative — framing sexuality in terms of “danger” and “immorality” — how can our voices be heard? What language should you use when your people are dealing with shame and fear about being “found out?” How can you spread the word without alienating the very people you want to reach the most? By using language your clients, readers, listeners and constituents understand, you can reach a bigger audience, help more people, frame the debate and actually create a more sex-positive world.
The work of being an excellent educator starts well before you enter the classroom. In this session we will provide participants with information to become a well-rounded sex educator, meaning that your own background and biases do not affect your audience. Interactive exercises, personal reflections, and group discussions will be used to create a inviting and light hearted environment to open up a dialogue about bringing inclusive sex education to comprehensive sex education.
Comprehensive sex education commonly excludes individuals from the trans, queer, kinky, intersex, differently abled and non-monogamous communities. We will explore methods of curriculum adaption and vocabulary alterations that create a sex education program better suited for all types of diverse audiences or classrooms. As a group, we will examine ways to create a de-stigmatized and sex-positive environment when educating people of all ages about STIs. Finally we will discuss age-appropriate language and how to answer difficult questions both in and out of classrooms settings. Participants will leave with tools that make altering vocabulary simple, so that any type of curriculum or enrollment form is more inclusive for many types of diverse audiences.
Male Circumcision: A Humanist Perspective on the Removal of Foreskin
Dr. Hernando Chaves #cconmale
Male circumcision has been practiced for thousands of years. Traditionally, it has been incorporated into spiritual, religious, and cultural aspects of numerous societies. Today, those traditions are being challenged by the Intactivist movement, those against the removal of male foreskin. With modern sex research, we have begun to challenge the historical assumptions of the necessity of male circumcision beyond tradition, culture, and faith. What does the research community, the medical profession, and the field of sexology have to say? How often is male circumcision practiced? Does foreskin removal affect penile sensation and/or affect sexual pleasure? Does removing the foreskin prevent or reduce the likelihood of medical issues such as penile cancer, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV? What are the ethical implications associated with removing a body part without individual consent, which is the case for the majority of foreskin removals? This presentation will also include a 2-minute video of a male infant being circumcised, which happens behind closed hospital doors more than one million times in the US each year. This presentation aims to discuss both sides of the argument and challenge attendees to look at their own views and opinions on male circumcision.
Ok, Polyamory’s Been Outed! Now What Do We Do?
Jim Fleckenstein #cconpoly
The Showtime TV show, “Polyamory-Married and Dating” has put one version of polyamory right into America’s living rooms. Although the show has created a lot of buzz – enough that Showtime has reportedly contracted for a second season – a fair amount of that buzz has been controversy within the polyamory community itself. There are concerns about the show’s presentation of the polyamorous lifestyle, its emphasis on explicit (if soft core) sex, the relentless “drama” it seems to portray as being inherent in polyamory, and similar matters.
Like it or not, this “reality” show is shaping public perceptions of polyamory. As activists, we are faced with the question of what we want to do next. Where do we want to take the conversation? What do we want to do about potential fallout? How can we leverage the conversation started by this show into a viable national discussion about relationship choice, the many flavors and styles of non-exclusive relating, the diverse nature of the real world of polyamory, and the relatively drama free existence enjoyed by many practicing polyamory today – at least insofar as their relationships are concerned!
Activists need to develop a broadly coordinated response to the wider public exposure to polyamory and the increased attention this will generate -good and bad. We will examine some steps that the community may take going forward to adapt to the “brave new world” in which the mainstream now has a first hand impression -however imperfect – of “what polyamory is.”
The Online Activist: Ready, set, TWEET!
Cunning Minx #cconactivist
I have a message to deliver! Let’s start a blog! And a podcast! And get a Twitter handle! Woo hoo! ::one month later:: Uh oh. I’ve been to busy this week to Tweet. Or podcast. Or blog. And my site is now lame.
We love getting our activist groove on to support and amplify the message of our favorite causes. But how do you decide which messages to relay and when, using which tools? Creating a content strategy is essential for any marketing effort, and social activism is no different. In this session, supreme social media geek Minx will show how to brainstorm, create, analyze and adapt a content strategy that can be used to support any one of a number of social efforts.
The Piracy of Sex
Nate Glass #cconpiracy
The growing trend of digital piracy – from music to movies to books – leads many to accept it as a way of life and the norm for releasing content online. The same people who would never steal lipstick from the pharmacy disregard their ethics and attempt to rationalize illegally downloading a song. The problem is even more prevalent with sexual content. While the autonomy of the Internet helps generate a larger audience, including women, for porn, fetish videos, and live sex shows, it also allows people to hide behind aliases and justify their actions. The stigmas still surrounding sexuality contribute to the rampant pirating, as do performers’ lack of funds and resources. Mainstream corporations like Microsoft, NBC / Universal, and Sony have billions of dollars and teams of lawyers on their side to protect their content, but what do sex workers and adult entertainment producers have? Anti-piracy expert Nate Glass will discuss the effect of piracy and how independent content producers can fight back and protect their copyrights.
“Men of the Choir can join the Men’s Ministry if they’re ready to deal with their faulty wiring.” I dream about being with other men but I don’t act on it!” “Faggots don’t wanna listen to Dykes talk about eating p&*^^y and vice versa…you can’t put them in the same show!” “ President Obama lost my vote this year when he went against his Christian values by supporting gay marriage”. “White folks brought that gay shit to us, Africa didn’t have any gays before Europeans showed up…” are just a handful of LGBTQ slurs and criticisms shared within communities of color when the “mainstream” isn’t listening. Join a panel of Lesbian, Gay, Queer, and Straight artists/activists of color committed to strengthening understanding and acceptance amongst their sisters and brothers of varying sexual orientations. This panel challenges the concept of Sexual Tolerance as too short-sighted at time when gay marriage is supported by our current administration in Washington, DC and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the United States Armed Services has been repealed, while, simultaneously, black and brown family members are still trying to “pray the Gay away” in their sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.
Relationship Models for the 21st Century
Marcia Baczynski #cconrelationship
It’s no secret that more and more people are moving beyond the “traditional” monogamous relationship model. What might be surprising to some is that many people are also moving beyond even a primary/secondary model of non-monogamy at an ever-increasing rate. These shifts can be tied to the economic downturn, the structure of immigration law, inconsistencies in recognition of same-sex marriages and ever more fluid understandings of sexuality. These factors and more affect how individuals perceive the relationship options available to them, and the choices they make for how to relate to others in their romantic, sexual, economic and domestic spheres. While individuals, couples and groups are making their way in the world, it can be helpful for us to gain an understanding of how these relationships can work.
Whether the structures themselves are wildly creative, idealistic, grounded, practical, or drearily pragmatic, each of them creates new opportunities for what is possible in relationship. In this session, I will present examples of unusual relationship structures that are being practiced in the real world, including information about how these structures evolved for the people involved, the needs these new models meet, and problems they solve. We’ll explore the emerging vocabulary for talking about these kinds of unconventional relationships, and how simply acknowledging the existence of such relationships begins to break down inherent hegemonic patriarchal structures, and open up yet more possibilities for relating.
This panel will bring together a group of transgender activists and educators with diverse backgrounds to have a frank conversation on sex and sexuality. Moving beyond 101 sessions on how to have sex with a trans person, the trans-identified moderator and panelists will consider topics of sex, sexuality, and communication from our lived experiences. This panel will be a unique opportunity for both trans and non-trans participants to spark conversations around transgender people and sexuality.
Mainstream media outlets like CNN and Fox once limited coverage of sex to only a couple times a year, often associated with producing increased ratings during sweeps periods. The sensationalized served more to shock than educate. Now, thanks in part to media phenomenon like 50 Shades of Grey, sexually charged sitcoms, and the regular outpouring of celebrity sex tapes, sex is front and center in the media’s lens. Public relations specialists and members of the mainstream and adult media weigh in on the increased exposure to sex in the news and whether it reflects a new American ideology or is still a ratings ploy. What does sex really sell? How should sex be pitched to media? How does a writer pitch a story on sex to their editor? What are the repercussions of sex in the media? All the questions and more will be discussed by the expert panel.
No longer content to be the pervy cousin of “more enlightened” forms of non-monogamy, swingers all around the world are redefining what ethical non-monogamy means to them. As the cultural footprint of non-monogamy grows, swingers are opening themselves up beyond the former key parties and “wife swapping” and finding themselves with wonderful benefits: relationships. Swingers everywhere are asking for “friends first” and “no one night stands,” developing relationships that offer comfort, community, safety, and validation. This practice of allowing and embracing deeper emotional connections among playmates has become a phenomenon that has landed progressive swinging somewhere between the swinger sex club score and long-term polyamorous relationships. Cooper, Ginger, & Dylan from Life on the Swingset discuss taking back the term swinging, and growth toward the sexiest of futures.
When we think about accessible services for people with disabilities, sexual services seldom make the list, though the impact of sex and healing touch on personality and behavior is immeasurable.
The intersection of disability and sex work is fraught with complexity: as therapists and educators, we’re often in a position to make referrals, but with few resources. As sex workers, we lack access to professional inservices helping us better serve clients with disabilities. As people with disabilities, it’s challenging to discern which erotic professionals can best meet our needs.
Sex educator Robin Mandell and sex worker Sabrina Morgan will explore the pros and cons of outsourcing pleasure. They’ll discuss the options that are open to people with disabilities, including sex surrogacy in partnership with therapists and the gray areas of seeking services from forms of sex work that are criminalized or otherwise without legal standing.
Robin and Sabrina will outline the current climate in the US as well as the intersection of sex work and disability internationally, examining the models we can build on as we answer the question: where do we go from here?
The Silver Rainbow: Working with LGBT Seniors
Terri Clark #cconsilver
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. Participants will gain more insight into providing services to senior Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender seniors. This will be accomplished by increasing participants’ knowledge, as well as clarifying attitudes, values, and beliefs with regard to sexuality and aging issues in order to help create an empowering environment that recognizes the diversity and visibility of older LGBT people.
Does “sex positive” always mean acceptance of the sexual appetites of others or other communities we’re not involved in? Why is it acceptable for sex-positive individuals to bash or criticize the sexual proclivities of others while claiming to be supportive allies? Based on our collective experiences within the sex worker, BDSM, swinger, poly, and queer communities, our panel will lead a discussion that examines some of the ways we’ve witnessed slut-shaming from those we’ve expected it least. Additionally, we’ll discuss why initiating conversations about these incidents can be even more challenging than speaking with folks in the vanilla world. By confronting this issue, we hope to find better ways to stimulate conversations among sex-positive individuals and learn how our words and actions can have an impact on others who lack understanding of our communities.
Spiritual Sexuality: Ending the War Between Religion and Sex
Rev. Rebecca Turner #cconreligion
Opposition to same-sex relationships, sex without marriage, contraception, and abortion all fuel the so called “Values Votes” in national elections. Research shows that the most religious people in America are the least likely to engage in “non-coital” sex. Do religion and sex have to be at war? Which faith teachings support fulfilling sexual lives? Can sex be a spiritual exercise? Can religious faith support women during an abortion? We will address the intersections of faith, gender, and sexuality in American culture. Participants will be encouraged to construct their own spiritual understanding of healthy sexuality and to create sex-positive spiritual messages to use in activism.
“Human trafficking” is a current buzzword and everyone is “against” trafficking but few have good information about what this means. Panelists will explain what trafficking is, what this means in the US and elsewhere, and how this can play out here and where the US promotes anti-trafficking law. Real-life examples including trafficking for labor and for commercial sex will be used. Information presented will be based on research and experience delivering direct services and advocating for good policy and action. We will discuss the passage and implementation of Prop 35 in California, which makes sex workers and others “sex offenders,” with examples from its impact upon sex workers, their clients and people ancillary to the industry.
Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex
Joan Price #cconseniorsex
Senior sex advocate and award-winning author Joan Price talks candidly and entertainingly about the continuing challenges, delights, and shudders that come with the territory of writing and speaking about senior sex. What does she say to reporters and who recoil at the idea of wrinkly people enjoying sex? How do we combat the stereotypes? Joan also shares key concerns that seniors raise about their own sexuality, and offers tips that you can share with your older clients.
Sex toys are an unregulated industry, with no health standards, consumer protections or labeling laws to guide consumers. The results have been inflammation and chemical burns from handling toxic toys, threats and bullying of those who speak up, and a culture that sees sex toys as a punchline, not a viable product. Toxic toys have affected individual consumers, retail shop owners and workers and taken their toll on the ethical manufacturers that strive for a higher standard.
Join us as we look at the history of toys and hear our panelists’ firsthand accounts in the sex toy industry. We’ll have a frank discussion about responsibility and ethics. Our panel has set their goal to empower their peers — be it bloggers, sex educators, retailers, workers and manufacturers. Together we can create informed consumers and be a part of the change the sex toy industry needs.
What’s So Special About Sex?
Ava Mir-Ausziehen #cconspecial
As professionals in the realm of sex and sexuality, it follows that we think sex is rich, important, fascinating – but have we given it more power than it’s worth? Do we do ourselves and everyone else a disservice by putting sex on a pedestal? This talk looks as everything from Foucault’s classic critique of the Repressive Hypothesis to the proliferation of sexual self-help guides, to question in what ways we do more harm than good by relegating sexuality to a ‘special’ place. In this exploration, sex educator and writer for Sssh.com Ava Mir-Ausziehen plays Devil’s Advocate by opening up the rarely asked question – is sex really such a big deal?
What’s Your “Bi-Q”?
Terri Clark #cconBi
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 more saavy when working with the diversity of our sexuality. This workshop will explore bisexuality through the lens of sexual orientation, gender identity and behavior, recognizing the fluidity and complexity of bisexuality. We will address myths about bisexuals as well as how uses of the Kinsey scale and the Klein sexual orientation grid may be helpful to understanding bisexuality as dynamic and multi-faceted.
When To Give It Away and When To Charge For It: Knowing Your Worth, Assessing Others’, And How To Make Ends Meet As a Sex-Positive Professional
Reid Mihalko #cconcharge
You want to get paid to speak but no one’s got a budget for you… Someone asks you what you charge and you don’t want to undersell yourself… You tell someone your rates and they say you’re too expensive… You end up doing something for free and all it does is make you angry…
If any of these things sound familiar, join sex and relationship expert Reid Mihalko as he shares with you some tools, tips and tactics for: Evaluating your worth and pricing your services, understanding common business models in our industry and how to position yourself as a sex-positive professional inside of them, when you should charge for your expertise, and when to give it away, and why! If you want to increase your odds of making a living doing what you’re passionate about, then this is a do-not-miss talk!
Sex and disability. It’s the up-and-coming topic in sex-supportive and sex-positive circles these days. Disabled people are more visibly present in society, and the numbers of people with disabilities seems to be growing. Growing too is the sense that while we live in a sex-obsessed society, the sexuality of entire populations has been ignored and belittled. We talk about sex and disability because the topic intersects with so many things we’re already talking about; healthy body image, self-esteem, accessible sex education for all. We talk about sex and disability because it is the birthright of every single person to choose how they express their sexuality. We talk about sex and disability because of the bad stuff, including a higher than average number of sexual abuse survivors in disabled populations. We talk about sex and disability because ability is a temporary condition for most people, and disability is an invisible condition for many more.
We also talk about sex and disability because of what these discussions can teach us about sexuality in general. The mainstream conceptions of sex are limiting to most of us. Tools often utilized by people with disabilities, such as creativity and adaptability, can free us from these limits.
This workshop will start with a basic overview of disability. We will then look at some of the common sex and disability myths, and some of the realities people with different kinds of disabilities do face when negotiating their sexualities.
This workshop is a collective learning experience. Participants are encouraged to bring ideas and resources.