I sat in my chair listening to the introductions, one by one: Carol Queen. Dr. Robert Lawrence. Ava Mir-Ausziehen, Sex Nerd Sandra Daugherty. They are some very prolific names in the field of Sex Education – authors, doctors, pioneers…and me.
I was introduced by Carol Queen, no less, as a Sex Educator on a panel entitled “Sex Education: Out of the Classroom, Into the Streets.”
This weekend I had the privilege of attending CatalystCon (www.CatalystCon.com), a sex-positive conference in Long Beach. An event created and organized by Dee Dennis, of deedennis.com, it is described as a “safe, non-judgmental space where we can all come together and expand both our knowledge and understanding of the issues that influence sexuality today,” but for me, it was so much more.
The first night of the conference opened with a very unique “Social Lubrication” hosted by Reid Mihalko that had everyone up out of their seats, running around the room spouting random sex facts to total strangers. That gave way to “Sex Rules” with Maria Falzone, who warmed us up with her hysterical humor, only to leave us deep in thought with a very powerful message. The evening culminated with the Opening Keynote Plenary featuring Dr. Marty Klein (who was kind enough not to notice me trembling as I shook his hand), Megan Andelloux, Maggie Mayhem, and Francisco Ramirez. They spoke on Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism, and Acceptance, and by the time they were done, everyone in the room was radiating their excitement.
In just three short days, I met some amazing people from many different walks of Sex Ed. People whose books I have read, names I have heard, and classes I have attended. People I had only dreamed of meeting were all under one roof! Not only did I get to speak on a panel, I also got to sit in on as many as I could, and I really wish I could have cloned myself to attend a few more.
I attended “Media Risks: Who Wins?”, Feminist Perspectives on “50 Shades of Grey,” “Teaching Porn, How to be an Ally to Sex Workers,” “A New Monogamy,” “Fat Sex Works,” “Women in the Industry,” and “A Conversation with Anti-Establishment Sex Workers.” My brain was tingling with all of this stimulation. It was three straight days of BRAIN SEX.
On Saturday night, we were also treated to the premiere of a documentary called “How to Lose Your Virginity” by Therese Shechter followed by either Dirty Bingo or Bawdy Storytelling. I chose the latter, and was treated to a host of ridiculously entertaining stories by some of the speakers, and though it was very close, I dare say that Megan Andelloux took the cake with her “Pennies” story. I would give you the juicy details, but my words would never suffice. Couple that with the fact I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair, and it would be tough for you to get the full effect. Trust me, it was brilliant.
Speaking on my panel was amazing. To have people listening to me, valuing what i had to say – both because AND despite who I am, was a great experience for me as a Sex Educator. Perhaps I’ll expand on that in another blog, but for now I am simply grateful to have had the experience of CatalystCon, and would love to thank all of the attendees, Wicked Pictures, Wicked Sensual, Adella from Fine Ass Marketing, and most of all, Dee Dennis. I can’t wait for CatalystCon East.