Why I love CatalystCon

A quick write up of one my favorite sex positive conferences in the U.S.

#CconOK Opening Keynote panel!

#CconOK Opening Keynote panel!

One of my favorite conferences to attend is CatalystCon. Why? Because it’s not a kink conference. Or a poly conference. It is a sex-positive conference that brings together sex educators, activists, bloggers, sex workers, erotica writers, pornographers, political advocates and more in one big ass event.

Why do I enjoy it so much? Because I get exposed to other’s activism that I would normally be blind to: Joan Price‘s excellent work on senior sex and erotica; Charlie Glickman‘s work on gender as a verb; Dr. Winston Wilde‘s work on psychotherapy for alternative sexualities. It allows me as an educator to take off the blinders and play in others’ playgrounds so I can be a better and more tolerant advocate within my own poly community.

#Ccon West lunch

#Ccon West lunch

Plus, for two whole days, I get to walk around like a rock star and meet people whom I only know by email or Twitter icon. :-) And I’ll admit it: being famous for a weekend doesn’t suck!

That being said, it’s difficult to encapsulate the value of the conference in one blog post. Since I wasn’t able to live blog or Storify at this event as is my preference (due to fatigue, not any lack on the part of the organizer), I give you this list of awesome stuff I learned at this year’s CatalystCon West:

 

Cool Stuff I Learned at #ccon 2014:

  1. Reid Mihalko does a really convincing Dr. Phil impression.

    #CconSelf Marketing panel

    #CconSelf Marketing panel

  2. “Queer” (along with many other gender, sexual and relationship identities) is used to mean vastly different things, so it’s a good idea to ask “What does that mean to you?”
  3. You can make Charlie Glickman blush by treating him like a lady.
  4. There are a lot of really hard-working activists out there who need to hear that their part-time efforts, whether it be “just a blog” or “just a meetup group” are helping, and that that is enough.
  5. Clitorectomies were performed to cure lesbianism and paid for by Blue Cross up until 1977.
  6. There is a lot of debate about whether to use trigger warnings, and people are really passionate about their stances on it.
  7. Poly Weekly fans are the best, hottest, smartest and sexiest folks out there!
  8. Poly Weekly live podcast at #ccon west!

    Poly Weekly live podcast at #ccon west!

    Some people use “sex positive” to mean “sexually free” rather than to refer to an attitude characterized by acceptance and tolerance with regard to sexual identity, practices and needs. But Carol Queen wrote a great post explaining what “sex positive” is and isn’t.

  9. People who want to be sex-positive educators and activists really want to know how to protect their identities online.
  10. Rachel Kramer Bussel, Reid Mihalko and Charlie Glickman are the marketing goddesses of the sex positive world!

PW 396: Minx gets bawdy!

LustyGuy and Minx review a poly play, discuss a sexy article, and Minx gets bawdy!minx bawdy

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

Introduction Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

7:45 Topic: When women pursue sex, even men don’t get it

This interesting article citing a number of studies about both rat and human behavior has been making the rounds. What do you think? When women pursue sex, even men don’t get it

19:45 Special: Minx gets bawdy

This time, Minx remembered to hit record! This bawdy story by Minx was performed live at the Bawdy Slam in Seattle on June 12, 2014.

29:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 385: Everyone is doing poly wrong (the podcast!)

LustyGuy and Cunning Minx at Conflation in Wild West garb

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements and Host Chat

4:15 Topic: Everyone is doing poly wrong and needs to die in a fire

lolcat_doing_it_wrong

I’ve been speaking at more conference than usual this quarter, and with getting out more comes more musing.

In particular, I’ve noticed that we poly folks can be quick to police and judge others who have different definitions from ours. My blog post on why we should stop the poly policing and promote curiosity and tolerance is here; I talk through all the major points and make a plea for stopping our tendency to be the poly police and instead focus on curiosity, understanding and tolerance of others who might practice polyamory differently from us. (Yes, even when we think they’re doing it 100% wrong!)

22:00 Feedback

Q wrote in about polyamory and Buddhism and how they relate. Your thoughts?

25:30 Happy Poly Moment

A wrote in to share a Happy Poly Valentine’s Day moment!

27:00 Thank you!

Thanks to Poly Weekly supporters Melissa, Davie and Nigel for their donations this week! Also, we welcome Madalyn to the Poly Weekly playmates!

28:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 373: Sex positive blowout at CatalystCon West

Cunning Minx, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Lynn Comella at #ccon

Cunning Minx, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Lynn Comella at #ccon

What is going on in the sex positive world?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Host chat

Welcome to our new affiliate sponsor, GetSTDTested.com Use code “polyweekly” at checkout for a discount! Or just click on the banner in the right sidebar. :-)

5:00 Topic: Sex positive mojo at CatalystCon West

 28:15 Feedback

  • Jason in Wisconsin shares how he and his wife came to get over the poly hump
  • Herbalwise comments on the legalities of marriage from episode 354
  • Vir asks about how to cope when a partner passes away

 36:30 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

How to Be a Part-Time Sex-Positive Educator (When You Still Love Your Day Job!)

The inspiration for this session came from the last CatalystCon, which found me envying full-time educators for their ability to focus on their mission. But surely I’m not the only one who loves my day job and doesn’t really want to be a full-time advocate for poly and kinky issues, right?

And thus this session was born: my tips and tricks for a topic I still struggle with daily and weekly: how to devote time and focus to sex-positive activism while working 9-12 hour days.

PW 367: A day in the life of a pro domme and sub

Remedy

A peek behind the curtain of a New York pro domme and submissive

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Host chat

  • Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert are writing a book! Help fund their Indiegogo campaign to write it!
  • Check out the awesome new Beyond the Love conference, November 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio. Educational sessions, social events like poly speed dating and poly prom and the attendee-directed poly summit!
  • I’m presenting at CatalystCon on how to be a part-time sex educator Sept 27-29

7:45 Interview: Cheyenne Picardo, producer of Remedy

Cheyenne Picardo chats about her indie film Remedy, a semi-autobiographical tale of her experiences being a pro domme and pro submissive at a house in New York City. I saw it at the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival this year; the next showing is at Berlin Porn Film Festival. If you want to help cover licensing fees so Cheyenne can show the film more broadly, click here.

38:00 Happy Poly Moment

J tells the story of his girlfriend’s first poly experience and exploring her guilt about telling him about it as well as his joy that she did!

41:00  Feedback

Taking you out with the poem from IW called Thinning Locks

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 345: Poly for the holidays

How do you handle poly partners around the family?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • LustyGuy cohosts
  • Poly Prom in Richmond, VA, Saturday, March 9, 7:00 PM at the gay community center of Richmond Hall Info on FetLife

3:00 Topic: Poly for the holidays

How LustyGuy, L and Minx handled being out and in for holiday family visits. Tips: ask each person what he/she needs to feel happy and loved for the holiday and make sure each person gets those things. Take care of yourself first.

12:20 Happy Poly Moments

  • Lila shares a happy moment of coming out in defense of polyamory and bisexuality in her LGBTQ studies class. Great courage!
  • Hera shares her first poly experience

15:30 Feedback

  • Scott on the Swingset mashup episode argues that drama isn’t inherent in poly relationships, although LustyGuy points out that drama is common in first-time relationships, and first-time poly would fit the bill
  • Quick plug for Pedestrian Polyamory podcast if you’re not into kink or geekiness
  • Joreth called in to recommend hosting a poly movie night; her list of poly-themed movies is here
  • K shares his light bulb moment on the episode with Aggie on treating non-primaries well LustyGuy comments that change in a relationship should be welcomed and embraced because growth is essential for healthy relationships.

26:30 Thank you

Thanks to Joan, Ariane and Sean for joining the PW Playmates!

Outro

Our holiday outro music is Heat Miser by the Locals

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

CatalystCon: sex-positive heaven

CatalystCon is the event for sex-positive educators and activists with the best damned content ever

I have a confession to make. Usually, I don’t go to a lot of scheduled conference sessions. I find that the best way to derive value from conferences is the impromptu, serendipitous “in the hall” moments. You know, those conversations that spring from a funny badge, a recognized screen name or a quick assist finding the bar. In fact, for many conferences, I use the 1/1/1 rule: go to one session a day (harder than it sounds, especially at BDSM events), attend one hour of a sponsored party each night, and talk to one unfamiliar person.

But those proportions simply don’t work for CatalystCon. Why? Because this conference for educators and activists determined to make a difference in the sex-positive world has content-rich sessions involving some of the best educators in the business. Instead of attending one session a day, I must allow myself to SKIP one session a day so as not to get overwhelmed with too much fantastic information and ideas!

The highlight reel

Opening festivities. Since this is a starter conference stemming from MomentumCon (around 150, I’m told), and since many of us vocal sex educators are in fact a tad introverted, the festivities kicked off not only with some great humor from Maria Falzone, but Reid Mihalko‘s fun social lubrication exercises. During these all-hands-on-deck activities, we were encouraged (nay, commanded) to interact with the cool peeps in the room in a fun and entirely non-intimidating way. In fact, Reid instituted what I believe to be the most brilliant idea of the conference, which was to invite anyone identifying as an introvert to take an “introvert bracelet,” which would encourage the rest of us to initiate conversations with them. C’mon, admit it; you totally want that for your next con, don’t you?

Marcia Baczynski at #ccon

Relationship Models for the 21st Century with Marcia Baczynski. Marcia covered some fascinating material on the historical significance and evolution of marriage, noting that what we think of as “traditional marriage” really covers only the last 50 years or so. And she shared a shorthand for that type of relationship: MMKES (married monogamous kids eternal soulmates). Nothing wrong with the model, of course, as long as we are aware (a) that it is short-lived historically and (b) it doesn’t work for everyone.

Taking Sex Ed to the Streets, a panel facilitated by Carol Queen and with panelists Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence, Ava, Jessica Drake of Wicked Pictures and Sex Nerd Sandra. Dr. Lawrence pointed out what he calls the “Elders Effect”: once you step up to speak about any aspect of sex, you are an instant source. For most of the panelists, this happened when people started asking them about sex, and they stumbled into an education cycle. What I learned from this: there is always room for another sex-positive educator in the world.

My takeaway: Every non-faith-based study shows that sex education decreases pregnancy and STI transmission.

Megan Andelloux on Orgasm at #ccon

Orgasm as a Political Act, a diquietingly enlightening talk by the vivacious Megan Andelloux about the misconceptions in the general public based on a dearth of available sex education. Megan teaches sex education seminars to colleges and medical schools, and her disclosures of what the 20-somethings do not yet know about sexuality is frightening! (If you meet her, ask her to tell you the pine cone story. It’s horrifying.)

However, the most impactful segment of her talk was her decision to show the brief, two-minute video clip of Faces of Desire, which depicts men and woman experiencing orgasm from the neck up only, while looking directly at the camera. The reactions to the video were fascinating and ranged from arousal to disgust to violation, brilliantly making the point that not only do we all react differently to sex but that the primary value lies in having the conversation about it.

My takeaway: Think real orgasm isn’t disruptive? Think again.

Sex and the Media, a panel with Charlie Glickman, Lynn Comella and Shira Tarrant. Good discussion of how media’s purposes differ from ours and the importance of sound bites and question redirection. Shira suggests, “Thank you for asking me that. But the real question is… ”

My takeaway: The key to good messaging for any interview is to prepare the connect, lead and takeaway in advance.

SexNerdSandra's Tweet from #cconactivist

Content Creation for the Online Activist Yes, my own talk! It was my first time giving it, so of course I found a million places for improvement. But the crowd was GREAT! Thanks to @lunquil, @sexualcandor, @talesofthepack, @sexnerdsandra, @trixiefilms @marip0zo, @serviceslut @amyjogoddard for engaging, asking questions and Tweeting the shit outta the talk! The slides from the presentation are posted, and you inspired me to find other venues in which this content might be useful, such as a webinar or local sex-positive toy store event. In fact, if you have ideas on venues where this talk might be helpful, please let me know!

The entertainment Saturday night entertainment was sexy fun, with Ducky DooLittle‘s Dirty Bingo (always fun!), a little dancing, and some good, old-fashioned laughter as the best medicine in the Bawdy Storytelling series.

Chillaxing and wrapping up

Perfect place for a #ccon PW meetup!

For me, the conference ended a with mini Poly Weekly poolside meetup with attendees and locals hanging out chillaxing by the pool and hot tub for a few hours before heading back home. And to top it all off, I would be the social media dork that I am without checking my stats and sharing the most reTweeted post of the conference (although note that Charlie’s Twitter ID is actually @charlieglickman):

 Yes, according to my analytics report, that one Tweet was the top performer of the week!

CatalstCon was the perfect mix of stunning information and insights, sexy entertainment and phenomenal social opportunities. If you have a chance to attend in the future, you should.

Win a ticket to Burning Man 2012!

Go to Burning Man on us!

Do you like listening to dubstep 24 hours a day? Do you like rolling around in Playa dust? Do you like setting things on fire around naked people? Do you know to click stuff on the internet? Well, you’re in luck! One of our totally awesome listeners works for the org and has donated a ticket for Burning Man 2012 to be raffled off this month as a fundraiser for Poly Weekly!

How to enter

Entering is easy! To enter the raffle, click on the tip jar and make a donation of at least $10. Every $10 donation gets you one entry into the raffle. So $20 gets two entries, $30 gets three, and so on. Every donation of at least $10 between now and July 29th will be automatically entered, so this is a GREAT time to support the show!

Want to enter but can’t do a donation? No worries: just send an email to cunningminx@gmail.com with the subject line Enter Me, and you’ll be entered into the raffle for free! (One free entry per person.)

On July 30th we’ll be announcing one lucky winner of the ticket to Burning Man 2012. Woo hoo and Good luck!

Oh, and void where prohibited.

OpenSF writeup in Oakland Local

Gavin Katz, Cunning Minx and Shira B. Katz at OpenSF

Hello, all! Just a quick note of thanks to reporter Susan Mernit for the quick and friendly writeup of OpenSF in Oakland Local. Oakland Local is a great site for uncovered community news that the major outlets skip, BTW; you should read it if you're in the area. And don&#

039;t Shira and Gavin Katz of the Pedestrian Polyamory podcast and I look like a cute little poly triad?

From the article:

InvisibleInk, an Oakland-based organizer, told Oakland Local that the conference had made a commitment to diversity early on. Unlike some conferences for polyamorous people, Open SF had a notable age range and far more people of color than most conference of this sort. Sessions focusing on people of color issues within the open community as well as sessions focused on family, size diversity, and  navigating poly/mono relationships meant there were rooms where people could be heard, an inclusive approach.

So true; I personally attended a session on Multiple -Isms in the Poly Community, and I have to admit I hadn't really thought much about diversity before that, with the exception of diversity of sexual orientation, preference and age.

zp8497586rq

Make a Donation

Poly Weekly Playmates!

Wanna play?
Poly Weekly blog award

Poly Weekly on Facebook

Poly Weekly on Twitter