**CatalystCon East 2014 Sessions will be announced in December**
CatalystCon West 2013 Sessions
- Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance
- Closing Keynote Plenary Address: Afternoon Tea with Dr. Joycelyn Elders
- The “Ass Panel”: The Ins and Outs of Anal Pleasure
- Building a Career Talking About Sex
- But Wait, There’s More! Exploring the Intersection of Race, Class, Ability and Sexuality and Desire
- Cancer is My Wingman
- Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality
- Feminist Porn 101: What it is, What it isn’t, and Why it matters
- The Feminist Sex Wars and Beyond: “Sisterhood” and Sex
- The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging
- From Slow Sex to Porna – A 21st Century Sexual Revolution in the Lowlands
- How to be a Sex Positive Educator (When You Still Love Your Day Job)
- Infamous! A Celebration of Sex Workers Who Changed the World
- Introduction to The Anatomy of Erotic Sensation
- Language Matters: How to Speak Sex-Positivity So That People Listen
- Learning From Polyamory’s Experiences With The Media
- Lesbo Retro: A Dyke Porn Retrospective
- Male Circumcision: A Humanist Perspective on the Removal of Foreskin
- Managing Your Message: Can You Really Control What Gets Published?
- The Mindset of a Mistress
- Moral Panic
- Moving from Comprehensive to Inclusive Sex Education
- Organizing is Sexy
- Own Worst Enemy: Why Progressives and Sex-Positive Activists Struggle to Change People’s Minds
- Parenting, Sex and Media
- Political Organizing in the Sex Positive Community
- Sex Down Under: Lessons From Studying and Teaching in Australia
- Sex Positive Therapy with Sexual Minorities
- Sex Talk with Gender Creative Youth
- Sex with Benefits: Progressive Swinging
- Sexual Taboos In Christian and Conservative Relationships
- Talkin’ About a Revolution: Partnership Between Sex Educators and Adult Retailers
- Talking the Sex-Positive Walk
- Teaching Sex on Campus
- Top 10 Myths About Business (and the Truth)
- Torture Porn: Why the Trafficking Narrative is Seducing American Media
- Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates
- What is ‘Normal’? An Exploration of Sexual Behavior, Diversity, and Judgment
- What is Sex-Positivity?
- Will Write for Dildos: How and Why Companies and Reviewers Should Work Together
- Your Sex isn’t Better than Mine (and Other Judgments to Do Away With)
Special Workshops and Presentations
Click here to register!
More and more people are discovering the potential pleasure of their asses, from prostate massage to pegging. New breeds of quality products designed to assist in anal exploration, like strap-ons and prostate massagers continue to be introduced and purchased at an increasing rate. Join a panel of leaders in the world of anal pleasure for a discussion on how prostate stimulation can open a new frontier of sensation and how pegging can lead to new levels of intimacy. Topics that will be addressed include health benefits of prostate massage, the orgasmic potential of anal play, common misconceptions about male anal pleasure, and overcoming stigma, fear and traditional gender roles.
Building a Career Talking About Sex
Lauren Marie Fleming (Queerie Bradshaw)
This session is aimed towards those who want to write or speak about sex, sexuality, gender and gender identity for a living. Topics we will cover include: ways to preserve your anonymity and coming out to family and friends as a sex worker/sexpert when you’re ready; credentials and education that may help boost your credibility; ways to make money off of talking about sex; and what constitutes erotica and whether it is a bad thing to be labeled as such.
They look so good and cause that familiar thump, thump, thump in your jeans. You want to do more than have casual chat with them…and then the fear comes up. What about the difference? Will they say no because of it? Will you shy away from asking or pleading because of it? What happens when desire bumps up against race, class and/or ability? Join us as we explore the intersections of race, class, ability and sexuality and desire.
- KA POW the notion that race has to be fetishized!
- PUNCH up the connection between desire and class!
- SPLAT the silent hunger between sexuality and ability!
We want to have an exciting, thick, rich, pulsating conversation on the intersections of race, class, ability and desire and sexuality. Bring your questions, bring your desires, bring your address books! ALL are welcome!
Cancer is My Wingman
Relationships, sex, and dating are complicated enough as it is, but what happens when you add cancer to the mix? For millions of cancer survivors, the results aren’t great. Most doctors don’t talk to their patients about their sexuality, even when their treatment may directly affect their sex lives and reproductive future. Cancer survivors finish treatment (or move to lifelong treatment) alive, but with often dramatically changed bodies and no tools for being sexy, sexual, and satisfied. Survivors face sexual dysfunction, body dysmorphia, fertility and libido problems, scars, surgery, early menopause, and other long-term cancer side effects. Our standard narratives about what “sexy” looks like and how sex is supposed to work ignores the reality that all of our bodies break down and malfunction some of the time.
Join award winning dating coach and cancer survivor Charlie Nox at a look at the unique sexual and social needs of people with cancer. We will also look at what lessons everyone can learn from cancer patients about how to communicate, connect, and create an amazing dating life no matter what you’re dealing with. We’ll end by examining how difficult circumstances can be access points for deeply satisfying relationships and juicy sexual encounters.
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.
2013 might go down in the history books as the “Year of Feminist Porn.” In the span of a few short months we saw the publication of The Feminist Porn Book, the first annual Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto, and a Feminist Porn Mini Con at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The topic of feminist pornography was discussed in a number of mainstream media outlets, including the Huffington Post, Salon, and the Daily Beast, among others. Yet some writers have suggested that there’s a lack of clarity about what constitutes feminist pornography, claiming that it is a “bundle of contradictions” or that the label “feminist porn” might, in the end, amount to little more than a clever marketing ploy. This panel seeks to open up a dialogue about what feminist porn is, what it isn’t, and why the label feminist porn matters in a cultural climate that continues to be hostile to both feminism and sexuality more generally.
In this session, Dr. Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, and Dr. Lynn Comella, a women’s studies professor at UNLV, discuss the history of the feminist sex wars and the rise of sex positive feminism.
The effects on the mainstream feminist movement of conflicts about sexuality — including BDSM, sex work, and pornography — still resonate. Learn about the past events and players responsible for representing sexuality-related issues as dangerous to women, and the activists who refused to allow sex and feminism to be separated, advocating for diverse sexual possibilities for women. Finally, what’s the future of this discordant discussion?
The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging
Joan Price, author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex, shatters the myths and shares the most common questions that Boomers, seniors, and elders ask her. Joan shares the concerns that older adults raise about their changing sexuality, the challenges that they face, and the misconceptions that hamper their sexual enjoyment. Throughout the session, you’ll learn tips and strategies for working with older adults and ways to address this age group about their sexual issues.
From Slow Sex to Porna – A 21st Century Sexual Revolution in the Lowlands
There’s something happening in that small country called the Netherlands. Despite, or maybe thanks to the current conservative winds, which are blowing through the lowlands. For over four decades The Netherlands have been known for their open-minded mentality towards sexuality. Unfortunately much of this claim has crumbled in the past ten years. Sexual freedom is not a given anymore: the Red Light District is under attack, we lost our title of Gay Capital of Europe to Berlin, national institutions to promote sexual diversity are gone.
But out of the ashes, something new is blooming. Some call this revival of sexual awareness the slow sex movement, others call it a sexual revolution 2.0 or even 3.0. Whatever name it carries, it’s growing through the nooks and crannies. Slowly, but steady, creating a foundation for a more sex positive discourse. From the explorations of the queer community to kinksters becoming BDSM activists. From intellectual discussions about the importance of sex in our society to the rise of porna (yes, it’s ‘porna’) for women on national television.
With the growing possibilities of creating space (both literally and figuratively speaking) in the Netherlands for new views on sexuality, I want to talk about my experiences in being part of this revolution, which certainly is not limited to just this small country in Europe. My presentation is also about reaching out to people and communities, to combine forces, knowledge and inspire each other across the Atlantic Ocean.
How to Be a Sex Positive Educator (When You Still Love Your Day Job)
Got a passion for a sex-positive cause but don’t want to give up the day job you love? Want to be an activist, but only have 5-10 hours a week to do it? This session is for you! In this session, you’ll learn how to identify and prioritize the daily and weekly tasks needed to achieve your outreach goals; how to cope with and combat work/life hindrances; and how to keep your motivation and mission fresh over time.
Infamous! A Celebration of Sex Workers Who Changed the World
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
While sex workers are commonly villainized by the media, and other women, they have often been the source of world change. These women fought the status quo, lived amazing lives, and then disappeared from the history books. This will be a celebration of the lives of these women.
We will look at the changes they made, including fighting for women’s rights. Sex Workers were fighting for women’s rights long before Gloria Steinem. They were the first women to be educated, to own property, and fight the idea that women were owned by their husband.
We will also look at what made them remembered as opposed to the other Working Ladies of their time. How did they attract and maintain that loyal client base that made them infamous? Sometimes is was as simple as attracting the right suitor, or slipping laxatives to the competition, but other times, they had a special something. What was it?
In this discussion you will be exposed to the basic Western scientific language of sensation. It has been mostly a secret language held mostly by scientists and Dr’s for the last four hundred years. If you know it you can read and understand some of the new sex research going on in the world. This information will allow you a common language with other professionals and a deeper but by no means complete understanding of current trends in sexuality from the Western model of thought. In fact the more you learn about any particular scientific subject focus you will find you know less and less about the subject overall.
Language Matters: How to Speak Sex-Positivity So That People Listen
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.
Learning From Polyamory’s Experiences With The Media
While there are many problems with the depiction of polyamory in the media, poly people have been represented significantly better than some other sexual minority groups when it comes to the press. This presentation will start with a discussion of media experiences by polyamory activists and move on to a roundtable discussion of sexual minority media strategies and tips. We will talk about getting human interest stories, handling journalists and talk show hosts, alternative media outlets, and so on. We will also talk about problems that sexual minorities face in the media: a lack of diverse representation, hit pieces based on criminal cases, sensationalization and sexualization, etc.
View a clip show featuring footage of lesbian sex made by queer women in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000′s, compiled by Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano. Shar and Jackie will be presenting Lesbo Retro in person; revealing the behind the scenes details of history, economics, popular-culture, community expectations, as well as the filmmaker’s artistic eye and how all of these factors influenced the making of these radical films. Some of the footage is rare and hasn’t been publicly released. This is a very fun, informative, evocative, feminist presentation that is rarely viewed and, even more rarely, presented with such informed commentary!
Male Circumcision: A Humanist Perspective on the Removal of Foreskin
Dr. Hernando Chaves
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, sexologists have begun to challenge 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 pro-foreskin presentation aims to challenge attendees to look at their own views and opinions on male circumcision and provide evidence-based research that challenges the medical benefits of circumcision and highlights the pleasure and sensitivity of the foreskin.
The liberal media. The right-wing media. The mainstream media. Slap on whatever label you like, the media has become this giant “concept” that confuses most people. Who is the media? Where do bloggers fall in the traditional definition of media? And how do you know who to work with and who to ignore when it comes to getting your message out there? The panelists will tell you how to target the media you want, how to deal with the media you don’t, and how to tell the difference.
The Mindset of a Mistress
Ebony A. Utley, PhD
Mistresses get a bad rap. Women see them as homewreckers, side chicks, and jump offs. Men describe them as either something to do or the right person who came along at the wrong time. Occasionally, a famous mistress will write a tell-all and share stories of glitz and glamour. But as far as regular folk are concerned, very few people are exposed to mindset of a mistress. This session corrects that problem. First, we explore the historical role of mistresses beginning with early world cultures. Then we shift to the present day and use first person interviews to describe the experiences of contemporary mistresses. Finally we compare our historical and contemporary data to how mistresses are represented in popular culture—particularly reality television and shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Scandal, Mistresses, and The Good Wife. We conclude that the mistresses’ bad reputation is more about our society’s rules about sex and our society’s penchant for sexism than it is about the women themselves.
Mainstream media, backlash political movements, and best-selling books are currently loaded with public alarm about sex. Although moral panic promotes book sales and page views, it also diverts attention from the real issues and concerns about sexual safety, agency, pleasure, and consent. This panel explores the contemporary moral panic surrounding pornography, sex work, infidelity, and hooking up.
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.
Sex education commonly excludes individuals from the queer, Trans, intersex, kinky, differently abled and non monogamous communities. We will share effective tools such as methods of curriculum adaption and vocabulary alterations to be more inclusive all types of diverse audiences.
Finally we will discuss age-appropriate language and how to answer difficult questions both in and out of classrooms settings.
Dr. Ava Cadell
Throughout the course of history, humans have felt and experienced love with little understanding behind the feeling. Alfred Kinsey said love is impossible to measure scientifically, and we are now just beginning to understand the science behind love. What are the factors associated with love and how do these affect connection, pleasure, arousal and even orgasm?
Dr. Ava Cadell has created the term NeuroLoveology by blending certain aspects of neuroscience with the science of love, offering mindful techniques to help grow more brain cells while growing an intimate relationship. In this interactive presentation, she examines the differences between the left-brained and right-brained approach to love, intimate communication and sex. And examine the chemical cocktails going on in the brain with a mix of hormones, neurotransmitters, endorphins and their impact on our bodies mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually.
Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in exercises to help overcome internal and external distractions in order to stay mentally present in romantic situations to achieve the love you desire. Learn the basics of physiological changes occurring during romantic and sexual mindfulness. This interactive, multimedia presentation will have you thinking about the distractions around you that impact your ability to calm the mind, be present in intimate moments, and be mindful of you and your partner’s pleasure.
Organizing is Sexy
Want to Make the World a Sexier Place? Or, More to the Point, Do You Want to Create a World in Which it’s Safer to Be Sexy?
Digital organizing isn’t just for the folks at MoveOn anymore – any of us can do it. Learn from professional organizer William Winters about crafting the strategies and using the tools that will help you become a more effective advocate for sex positive causes.
Own Worst Enemy: Why Progressives and Sex-Positive Activists Struggle to Change People’s Minds
It’s hard to educate and enlighten people about the complicated issues in this world. You feel like you’re doing your part, blogging and speaking out on the issues wherever you can. But whether you realize it or not, you are being sabotaged at every turn by someone who misrepresents your message.
All of your compelling evidence, all of your valid points, disregarded because there is a person who’s managed to make you seem ignorant, out of touch, even irrational. So who is this enemy? It’s You!
We rarely approach the people whose minds we want to change, in ways designed specifically to reach them. Instead our approach is built around the ways WE see the world, a method that all but guarantees that our message will fail to “ring true” to its intended audience. We choose confrontational methods, we have unrealistic expectations, and let our outrage befoul our efforts to educate.
In this presentation we will take a hard look at the ways we progressives sabotage our own messages. We will look at ways to approach important issues that work with (rather than against) human nature and find more effective ways to change people’s minds and encourage positive change in our society.
Dr. Carol Queen recently said the number one thing parents can do to raise sex-positive kids in a sex-negative world is to teach our children to be critical media consumers. Join bisexual artist and activist, Juba Kalamka, retired adult film star & fetish model, Sinnamon Love, the sex-positive parent herself, Airial Clark and moderator Krista Arendsen of Mama K Media for a discussion on how to raise kids who are both sex and media savvy. Being a sex-positive parent means we have to intercept larger cultural scripts that are inherently sex-negative with healthier messages that support a wider understanding of sexual behavior and sexual identity. From new tech to porn consumption to rape culture, we’re right there with you having these tough conversations with our children as we go. We will share our strategies for age-appropriate conversations about how sexuality and desire are represented in the media, how our intersecting identities as parents, as queer, as kinky, as non-monogamous, or as activists shape the media we make and how we use media to prompt discussions about sexuality and consent in our families.
Political Organizing in the Sex Positive Community
J. Daniel Ford
While the Sex Positive Community is both an active and supportive community it has not yet harnessed its strength in a way that allows for effective advocacy in the realm of politics. Daniel Ford will discuss the power that can be harnessed by a unified community and how that power can be used to affect positive societal change.
In this session we will discuss strategies for organizing the community and the obstacles that are faced in doing so, issues of importance to the community, ranging from sex education and issues of equality to domestic and sexual violence laws, and grassroots strategies and tactics for affecting change. We will close the session with a Q&A on the discussed topics and a discussion of recent political events which the community has or could have impacted.
Sex Down Under: Lessons From Studying and Teaching in Australia
In 2010, Kate McCombs left California and moved to Australia to get her Masters in Public Health at the University of Melbourne. Studying sexual health in a country with socialized medicine, comprehensive harm reduction programs, and dramatically different laws around sex work and pornography was a perspective-expanding experience, to say the least. While in Melbourne, she continued her sex education teaching career, and encounters with students provided cross-cultural insights and the occasional humorous misunderstanding.
In this talk, Kate will describe several of the key things she learned from studying and teaching about sexuality and health Down Under. You’ll learn about Australian culture, health, and even some sex geeky facts about marsupial genitals.
Often sex therapists see clients coming into their office worried or shamed about their sexual interests due to sex negative messaging in their families and society. Therapists often need to provide sex education in order to depathologize and normalize sexual behaviors and fantasies which are deemed aberrant by clients. This presentation will provide details on how therapists help their clients accept and embrace their own sexualities. Case studies will be presented which illustrate the challenges that therapists face in helping clients accept themselves and in giving them permission to explore and broaden their sexual horizons.
Particular attention will be placed on differentiating between healthy, non-normative sexual behaviors and pathological behaviors, with emphasis on understanding the new changes in the DSM-V regarding the new diagnosis of Paraphilic Disorder. Pros and cons of this new diagnosis will be discussed, with suggestions provided for further changes in the way that the mental health field views sexual minorities.
Sex Talk with Gender Creative Youth
While some youth are breaking down the gender binary system and redefining what it means to be male or female, both or neither, there are parents who are helping their young children transition socially and medically from one gender to another. Schools are being forced to recognize transgender kids and their needs, as legal precedent is being set to protect children from discrimination.
As sex educators, counselors and therapists, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to offer sex education and support that makes sense to gender creative youth and their families.
This includes learning to address a range of concerns including naming body parts, dating and disclosure, physical and emotional safety, challenges around physical and sexual intimacy, and finding language to talk about sexual orientation, safer sex and contraception as it applies to gender diverse youth.
Studies show that sex education rarely takes into account transgender concerns and language. Some trans youth, for example, develop their own words for genitals, rejecting terminology they find alienating. Similarly, trans youth may tune out critical information that doesn’t speak to them: for instance, identifying as women, male-to-female youth may ignore information about using condoms. Or partners may believe that female-to-male (FTM) youth cannot become pregnant while on testosterone.
Through examination of the gender binary system and narratives of gender creative youth and their families this presentation will provide tools, approaches, resources and language to provide sex education, counseling and therapy for gender creative youth.
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, & Shira from Life on the Swingset discuss taking back the term swinging, and growth toward the sexiest of futures.
Sexual Taboos In Christian and Conservative Relationships
Because I am an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am sought out by conservative couples and individuals who want a sexuality educator that understands the guilt and frustration they bring into their sexual relationships. They are often times just needing permission to try something more than the missionary position in the dark once a month for procreation. This workshop will explore the origins of religious sexual guilt; discuss the idea that sex is a gift; and how we can help stop the cycle of shaming and guilt in the next generation. We will also discuss “forbidden fruits”: the prevalence and justification of Christians secretly engaging in taboos such as swinging and kink.
Previous studies by researchers at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion have described the existing and potential roles for adult retail stores, as well as for manufacturers and distributors of sexual enhancement products, to play in sexual health promotion. For example, adult retail stores may be able to function as sexuality education outreach centers within their communities. Recently, these studies have received further examination from those working in the adult retail industry. This session will explore ways in which educators and retailers could create innovative programs that benefit everyone.
Currently there are varied ways that sexuality education operates in the adult retail industry. Some stores provide basic staff training in sex education, most of it pleasure based, but many stores provide little to no sexuality education for their employees. This panel explores the following questions: Would stores be open to putting resources into training employees if it meant employees could gain certification? How would sexual health issues be addressed? Could such programs change community perceptions of such adult businesses? What potential exists for adult retail stores who integrate sexuality education into their mission to improve the health of their community, and partner with local sexuality educators, counselors, therapists, and healthcare providers?
This panel, featuring Dr. Debby Herbenick, one of the researchers behind the study, and Metis Black, founder and President of Tantus, Inc., will discuss the history of the study, summary of the findings, content as seen through the eyes of industry veterans, and ways that a project like this could foster a revolution in the way sex is perceived in America.
You know you’re a sex-positive person, but how do become a sex-positive parent? Are you looking for examples on how different families find solutions to ending silence around sex? Join Maria Falzone, founder and director at International Foundation for Comprehensive Sexual Health and Education, Tomas Moniz, founder, editor, and a writer for the award winning zine Rad Dad, and Airial Clark aka The Sex-Positive Parent, to learn age-appropriate communication strategies for your family. We will be discussing anxieties about sexual behavior, how to share your own experiences while maintaining healthy boundaries, how to model consent in your household and how to handle the sex-negativity our kids are inundated by. Based on our own personal and professional experiences as sex-positive parents, we have insight on how to create and sustain a sex-positive support system for yourself and your children. By focussing on how to have open and honest conversations about sex, this panel will help you be the kind of parent you always wished you’d had. This session will include an interactive Q&A so bring your questions to ask the panelists!
There is currently an upsurge in media coverage about professors teaching porn and sexuality in college classrooms. Debates about the merit and legitimacy of these topics — and whether they are worthy of university-level attention — have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Jezebel, and HuffPost Live. Yet we haven’t heard from the students themselves. This panel brings faculty and students together in discussing what works in the classroom — and what doesn’t. This conversation will provide constructive ideas for responsibly teaching porn literacy, sexual safety, and sexual consent, without creating a media circus in the classroom or presuming to know what students think.
Top 10 Myths About Business (and the Truth)
The legal, marketing and accounting issues related to working for yourself, in a sex-related business (or both!) can (and often do) fill a book. But what are the most important things to know? This session will go over the top 10 things you really should know, touching on common myths and ways to keep yourself legal and profitable without breaking the bank.
Torture Porn: Why the Trafficking Narrative is Seducing American Media
Frequently the subject of erotic media, lately sex workers have taken center stage in a lurid tale designed to put them in jail and out of business. Policies such as California’s Prop 35 are pushed to combat the alleged growing threat of human trafficking while threatening the privacy, safety, and dignity of those in the sex trade. Sex worker and advocate Sabrina Morgan will uncover mainstream media’s fascination with sex slavery, how it impacts current policy and thought on sex work, how the sexualization of trafficking harms both sex workers and the coerced or trafficked, and how sex-positive culture and sex workers’ rights allies can effectively promote a message of consent culture and sexual justice to a media that discards nuance in favor of a juicy story.
Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates
If you walk a novelty section at an adult store you’ll realize phthalates have gone the way of the dinosaur, at least it has if we can believe packaging claims. But what about heavy metals, lead, toluene, arsenic and cadmium? A Danish Ministry Environmental Study was done in 2005. It’s the only publically available analysis and health risk assessment of chemical substances in sex toys.
The Danish EPA randomly tested 16 sex toys highlights include: The element screening analyses showed that one product, a stick vibrator in hard ABS exceeded the allowed amount of cadmium considerably (200 ppm against a limit value of 75 ppm). Two products contained tin in substantial concentrations and for one of them a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy (GC/MS) screening detected liberation of trimethyltin chloride.
With no regulations, sex toys are the “wild west” and no politician is going to get behind regulating. We are shamed into thinking irritations, chemical burns, and product failures are our fault. So let’s analyze the industry, our power as consumers and advocates and discuss our options.
Although we live in an increasingly progressive time, many judgments and limitations surrounding what is considered “normal” and acceptable sexual behavior still exist. At the same time, some of the most categorically “taboo” subjects are currently the most intriguing and, in terms of adult content, the most highly consumed. Why do disconnects surrounding “normal” sexual behavior continue to exist? And what can we as a society do to help alleviate these judgments?
Jacky St. James shares insight from her experiences working in adult entertainment, offering a positive approach to filmmaking that tackles controversial story-lines in a non-judgmental way. Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD offers a sociological take on porn and society, exploring intersections that occur between different dimensions of adult and various content consumers.
Lots of people talk about sex-positivity, but what does it really mean? What does it look like, and what can we do with it? There’s a lot to unpack, which means we have a lot of different ways to work with it. Carol Queen and Charlie Glickman have been discussing sex-positivity and participating in the conversation for years, and they’ll explore some of the pieces of the puzzle. They’ll talk about some of the negative ideas towards sex that shape personal and cultural attitudes, take a look at what sex-positivity is and isn’t, explain some useful tools for integrating it into our work, talk about the limits of sex-positivity as a concept, and discuss some of the controversies around the idea of sex-positivity. The more you understand what sex-positivity means to you, the more easily you can discuss it with others and use it in your work. Whether you’re new to the idea or you’ve been working with it for years, come get some new ways to talk about sexuality and sex-positivity!
“Is it true that I can make $39,000 a year reviewing sex toys?” is not the way to start an email to a sex toy company. But what is? In this panel, two toy reviewers and two adult company reps converge to discuss the challenges and rewards of joining forces. If handled correctly, a partnership between reviewer and company can yield valuable results. But the process involves care, commitment, and respect on both sides. It also requires realistic expectations. (Hint: it’s not all free sex toys and overnight reviews.)
We’ll discuss how to network and communicate tactfully, set reasonable expectations, write reviews satisfactory to both parties (…that may even generate a sale or two!), and foster a working relationship that is both harmonious and mutually beneficial. We’ll also talk about the purpose, pitfalls, and rewards of affiliate programs—and how they play into the reviewing process.
Together we’ll mull over polarizing issues such as: should companies pre-screen negative reviews? Are sponsored posts a viable content option? When should readers trust a review in which the product was supplied for free? And ultimately, why established businesses should be working with “lowly” bloggers.
Your Sex isn’t Better than Mine (and Other Judgments to Do Away With)
There are a lot of labels thrown around in the sex-positive community, and a lot of us speak to the idea of being inclusive. Inclusive of poly-folks. Inclusive of LGBTQ and all of the other acronyms. Inclusive of people of varying ethnicities. Inclusive of folks who identify as kinky or who are part of the BDSM community. All of this is great, and shows a lot of forward progress. But here’s where things get tricky…in an odd twist, we’ve started to close off the sex-positive community for anyone who might not identify with these labels and who might be identified by others with the… dare I say it… “vanilla” label. We are, most often unintentionally, suggesting that sex gets BETTER the more it moves away from being “mainstream.” But because the way we express ourselves sexually and the way we think of ourselves as individuals is so tightly bound and complicated, this message can shut people out of the conversation who equally deserve a voice; and can compartmentalize ideas about sex and sexual activity in ways that are arbitrary and unhealthy. While this session might raise some eyebrows and ruffle some feathers, the hope is that it also opens some hearts, minds and doors.