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!

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.

PW 315: What would monogamists do?

#mconFreshly returned from MomentumCon, a recap of the sessions on feminism, sexuality and sex-positivism today. Plus, using “what would monogamists do?” as a guiding question.

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Under-18 warning and redirection to Scarleteen

1:00 News and host chat

20:45 Topic: What would monogamists do?

A listener writes in to ask how to act around her partner’s OSO (metamour) and challenges the What Would Monogamists Do guiding question. How much flirting is OK around your SO and OSO, and how should you act towards your metamour in social situations?

29:30 Happy Poly Moment

  • Summersnake shares a moment of compersion when sending his wife off to spend time with her sweetie
  • Don writes in to share compersion and joy at his partner’s meeting the metamours

33:25 Feedback

Taylor on controlled male orgasms through controlling the flow of chi

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-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!

Why MomentumCon rawks

Cunning Minx, Anita Wagner, Brian Ballard, Mia Martina

Back from the flurry of sex-positive fun that was MomentumCon, and there are just too many good vibes to squish into one blog post. Fortunately for you, I’m home sick with something I’m convinced was given to me by a friend I had lunch with just before leaving for the con. (Yes, I now need to beat him up as promised.)

If you’ve never been to MomentumCon (and you probably haven’t, since it was the first one, although if you’ve been to Sex 2.0, you’ll know what I’m talking about), you should go for one very good reason: you will fit in. Kinky? Great; there are sessions on kink. Vanilla? No problem; there are no kink-specific parties, so you won’t be left out. Sex worker? Perfect; there are always sessions on how to be, support or even date sex workers. Sex Geek? Oh, you’ll be right at home. Gender queer blogger? There’s a session for you, and you’ll meet a dozen others like you. Poly activist? You’ll love the sessions on poly and the poly-friendly atmosphere. Monogamous? No worries; enjoy the sessions on tantric sex or chat with a porn star.  New media geek? Oh, honey, have we got sessions for you: panels, sessions and a Twitter stream to die for. Into burlesque, stripping, erotica, podcasting, masturbation, racial issues, identity issues? MomentumCon has got it.

In short, this is a con for whatever “sex-positive” means to you. This is a con that crosses identities, and it does it very well.

Want to know more?

  • For a taste of what the con is like, take a peek at my pictures from MomentumCon.
  • The slide deck from my own talk on Personal Branding for the Sex-Positive Educator. I’ve been asked to give this talk at several events, and I’m thrilled it always goes over so well!
  • Also, keep an eye on the podcast stream, as I’ll be posting the audio from my own talk as well as the audio from the podcasting panel.

And a big shout out to Tess Danesi and Dee Dennis for putting together such an astounding event. The presenters and attendees alike were raving about it, and with good reason. This is a good one, folks.

Personal Branding at MomentumCon

The MomentumCon iteration of personal branding for the sex-positive educator/activist using the social web. A GREAT session with great questions from the MomentumCon crowd! Thanks to everyone who attended, asked questions and kept me honest. I had a blast!

A few additional notes that came up:

Browser and iphone application for managing Twitter and Facebook accounts, including analytics and scheduling: HootSuite

Design and brainstorming graphics tool for Mac and iPad users: OmniGraffle

Social media analytics dashboard across properties: Unilyzer

Poly Living Conference coming to Seattle October 2010

From Loving More:

This October Loving More is thrilled to announce for the first time Loving More® will holding a
major polyamory relationship conference in SEATTLE WASHINGTON! Loving More is excited to bring this wonderful conference to an equally wonderful part of the country.

The PolyLiving Conference features a range of informative workshops from basic to advanced and from intellectual to experiential, covering topics both fun and serious.

Poly Living, orginally founded by the late George Marvil, is a place to learn relationship skills that support healthy polyamorous realationships.

  • Friday night Keynote,Concert and Reception
  • Saturday to Sunday- 18 Amazing workshops by nationally known polyamory facilitators
  • Saturday Luncheon

Click here for pricing and details

Featuring in Concert Friday Night Bone Poets Orchestra
Bone Poets Orchestra (formally known as Gaia Consort) will be preforming in concert Friday following the keynote. Psychedelic Steampunk in the tradition of Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and other hallucinogenic masters.

Sex 2.0: Seattle, May 22-23

SEATTLE – Sex 2.0 celebrates its third year May 22-23, 2010, in Seattle, Washington, at the Quality Inn. For the first time, the conference is heading to the West Coast and expanding across an entire weekend, attracting local and national influencers, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who are defining the future of sex and technology.

Sex 2.0 focuses on the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality. How is social media enabling people to learn, grow, and connect sexually? How is sexual expression tied to social activism? Does the concept of transparency online offer new opportunities or present new roadblocks — or both? These questions, and many more, are addressed within a safe, welcoming, sex positive space.

Topics this year include building your sex positive presence online, using the internet to connect with people as a sex coach or educator, participatory community organizing for social and sexual freedom, the new sex educators, and more. There will be panels on new media, distance sex work, and using the internet to improve the sex industry.

Featuring certified sexologist and author of Sex Secrets of Escorts: Tips From a Pro, Veronica Monet, as the keynote speaker and a discussion leader. Other session leaders include educator, writer, and founder of Cuddle Parties, Reid Mihalko; executive director of the Center and Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, Allena Gabosch; world-premiere rope bondage podcaster, author and activist Graydancer; president of Love U Parties, author, sex educator and activist, Ducky Doolittle; author, high priestess, and founder of Temple of the Red Lotus, Inara de Luna; sex advice podcaster Dr. Dick (Richard Wagner), Ph.D., ACS; and many more.

The conference welcomes all sex positive individuals 18+, the GLBTQ, poly, kinky, sex workers, podcasters, eroticists, activists and more. At Sex 2.0, everyone is a participant, rather than a passive attendee, joining conversations rather than listening to presentations. Respecting the confidentiality and protecting the identities of participants who wish to maintain a degree of anonymity is a top priority at Sex 2.0.

Profits will go to the Northwest chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, which is dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy, and to the event producer, the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture.

Advance registration is mandatory, given the relatively sensitive nature of this event. Registration is open and tickets are $50 until May 19 or tickets sell out.

The conference is being held at the Quality Inn at 618 John St., in the heart of Seattle beside the famous Space Needle and Seattle Center. It officially runs from 9 a.m. Saturday to 4 p.m. Sunday, with parties on Friday and Sunday.

Learn more about the event and register at www.sex20con.com.

Sex 2.0 is being produced and sponsored by Seattle’s Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the many ways sex is beneficial through education, outreach, the arts, advocacy, and research programs that serve the public.

How to Get Some (at Sex 2.0)

Sex 2.0 was a great time, despite my being sick for all of it! If you’re curious, take a peek at the Twitter stream here. Or take a look at the slides from my How to Get Some (at a con) talk here:

Also, uploading videos as I have time to Facebook:

Poly Weekly #187: Is he not that into me?

This week Poly Weekly #187: Is he not that into me?.

Download the mp3 directly!

0:00 Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to www.scarleteen.com; friend me on Twitter and answer questions about what you want on the show, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums at http://forum.polyweekly.com.


11:30 Happy Poly Moment of the Week
Hamilton wrote in to talk about his great New Years Eve with his two lovers and lots of wine.

12:10 Is He Not Into me?
Krista wrote in through facebook and told her story. She is in a situation where maybe one of her lovers is not really into her. Krista wants to know, what does that concept mean to poly people? Minx gives her impressions of the book “He Is Not Really Into You.”; Minx talks about how different relationships are different and that is OK. Poly has benefits that monogamy doesn’t have. If one person does not fulfill all our needs, we look for those needs in another. A relationship will fall to its own level.

20:15 Feedback
CJ wrote in and recommended Joe Haldeman, The World Series; Pechu Jay called and thanked Minx and judges for choosing her picture for Pimp Your Boobs; Stewart from Kansas City called in with his props for the podcast and his thoughts on massage.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email cunningminx@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions”

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