Over 350 attendees gathered in Woodland Hills, CA September 27-29 for the CatalystCon West sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on topics such as feminist porn, sex education, body image and sexuality, sex work, and political organizing in the sex positive community. Described by founder and organizer Dee Dennis as a “melting pot of sexuality,” CatalystCon unites sex educators, sex workers, health advocates, writers, activists, and others with a passion for creating change.
“Dee Dennis and her crew have created a compelling and affirming gathering dedicated to continuing the conversation and sparking the change we all want to see in the realm of sex positivity, pleasure activism, and sex education,” said Jackie Strano, Executive Vice President of Good Vibrations, who spoke on the Opening Keynote Plenary. “I was proud to represent the core mission and values of Good Vibrations while there, which is a focus on communication, education, and being an agent of social change.”
During the CatalystCon West opening reception, Drs. Carol Queen and Robert Morgan Lawrence, co-founders of the Center for Sex & Culture, were presented with the first Catalyst Award. The award was given in recognition of Queen and Lawrence’s decades of work as sex educators and activists and their leadership in the sex positive community.
The Center for Sex & Culture was also selected as one of the fundraising partners for the conference, along with the Joycelyn Elders Chair in Sexual Health Education. Dr. Elders was the CatalystCon West Closing Keynote speaker, and her chair at the University of Minnesota is the first of its kind in the country. Over $1000 was raised for these organizations during CatalystCon West. For more information on CatalystCon’s fundraising program, visit catalystcon.com/fundraiser.
Sponsors who exhibited at CatalystCon West included ANEROS, Sportsheets International, Wicked Pictures and Wicked Sensual Care, Tantus, Wet, We-Vibe, Vibratex, Nature Labs, Crave, and Slixa. “One of our core values at Sportsheets is education, and this was the perfect forum to discuss and learn about the latest issues in sexuality and share our knowledge and experience with the attendees,” said Julie Stewart, President of Sportsheets. “The caliber of speakers and attendees was exceptional.” For a full list of sponsors and further information about them, visit catalystcon.com/sponsor/sponsors-west.
CatalystCon returns to the east coast March 14-16, 2014 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. CatalystCon East is accepting speaker submissions until November 27, 2013. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations about sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon East, visit catalystcon.com/call-for-speakers.
“When it comes to open conversations about healthy sexuality, CatalystCon is one of the most important things happening today,” said Shira Tarrant, PhD, author and Associate Professor at California State University, Long Beach. Dr. Tarrant spoke on the Opening Keynote Plenary as well as on a panel about teaching sex on college campuses with some of her students from the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. “This conference draws together a diverse group of scholars, practitioners, activists, and fun-lovers who are all concerned about promoting sexual pleasure and sexual safety. In our locked-down culture where people are afraid to talk about sex (or simply don't have good information), CatalystCon is vital."
About CatalystCon: CatalystCon is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality. It is about stimulating the activist that is within all of us and sparking transformation in the way our friends, neighbors, children, and even politicians discuss one of the most important aspects of humanity. The fundamental principle behind CatalystCon is "knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting change". For more information, visit CatalystCon.com. To join in the conversation, visit Facebook.com/CatalystCon and Twitter.com/CatalystCon. CatalystCon East will be held March 14-16, 2014 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA.