Tag Archives: catalystcon

Guest Post on Joan Price’s Blog, Naked at Our Age

In one of my posts about the amazing sessions I attended at CatalystCon West, I mentioned that Joan Price’s panel, The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging, was the one that moved me the most…and now you can read all about it in my guest post on Joan’s blog!

Check it out:

Note from Joan: CatalystCon West 2013 was filled with amazing educators, new information, and a sense of community that I wish we could all feel everyday, everywhere. Normally I would write a synopsis of this conference, sharing what I learned.

But this time, I give the floor to Penny, a remarkable, 26-year-old sex blogger, who attended the session I gave: The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging. She started this guest post on the plane going home, she told me, tearing up as she wrote it. I’m proud to share it — and her — with you here. With allies like Penny, we can indeed change the world…continue reading on Naked at Our Age

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What I Really Learned at CatalystCon

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Though each of the panels I attended was amazing and the knowledge invaluable, what I really got out of CatalystCon goes much deeper than learning more about sex toy reviewing and toxic toyserotic sensation, feminist porn, prostate play, sex after age 50, business and marketing strategies, networking with colleagues, making new friends, and coming home with lots of goodies.

I’d heard of past Catalyst attendees experiencing “ccon drop,” and now I think I really understand what that means, at least for me. It doesn’t really mean ending an amazing educational weekend, or missing the new friends I made (though of course I will), and it doesn’t even describe the zombie-like state I was in for the first couple of days after I got back to Texas as I tried to catch up on sleeping, eating normally, and navigating in the “real world” where I can’t always be open with everyone or hug people I’ve just met and listen to their masturbation stories (PS don’t fall asleep with your Hitachi on!)

It’s more of a mix of humility, responsibility, and empathy. After hearing strong Catalyst leaders share their personal stories and tearing up during both Queerie Bradshaw’s emotional Bawdy performance and Joan Price’s panel, I realized that I need to let myself become more vulnerable so I can really connect with people. Throughout the weekend, I found myself telling stories about some of the more negative sex-related things that I haven’t shared on my blog. These things, and others that I have a hard time talking about to anyone, are the ones I should explore more, and I’m determined to push myself to speak up about topics that go beyond my comfort zone.

During the Opening Keynote, Yoseñio V. Lewis talked about how we need to unite, to help and learn from each other, instead of dividing ourselves into isolated groups. He told us about how he realized that an issue he didn’t initially consider directly related to him—the issue of women’s reproductive rights, was actually what he was also fighting for—autonomy and control of his own body.

He challenged us to all to go out and learn about something we think doesn’t apply to us at all, so that we’ll realize that in it in fact does apply to us, that these are human issues we’re fighting for, not women’s issues, or trans issues, not sex worker issues, or feminist issues, not your issues or my issues. They’re our issues. And when we can all come together, as we did briefly at Catalyst, that’s when we’ll really have the power to make a difference.

5 of My Favorite Moments from CatalystCon

I’ve already told you about some of the serious stuff- like the dildo related panels and others…but lots of other fun stuff happened at Catalyst! These were a few of my favorite moments:

1-      The Opening Dinner & Keynote– Experiencing the excitement and energy in the Grand Ballroom  with my new friends Beatnik du Jour, Dirty Lola, & LTtits, and listening to the incredibly inspiring Keynote speakers Jackie Strano, Shira Tarrant, Sinnamon Love, Yoseñio V. Lewis, and Tristan Taormino was the perfect way to start the convention!

2-      Hugs from Danny Wylde– Danny gives really awesome hugs, y’all. Also, I snagged a quick picture with him!

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3-      When Tristan Taormino said she likes my butt! – After the Feminist Porn panel, I had my Feminist Porn Book signed by the panelists, and when I introduced myself to Tristan as Penny she said, “Oh, you’re Penny with the butt on Twitter!” Enough said.

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4-      Bawdy Storytelling– I’ve seen sex related performances before, but I’ve never been to a show where I was so completely enthralled with every single performer! (@gramponante, @CharlieNox@ashleymanta, @QueerieBradshaw@Daneballard@Sexquire@cunningminx, & @TristanTaormino) I laughed until it hurt, I (almost) cried, and I witnessed Tristan Taormino sharing an amazing personal story publicly for the first time!

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5-      Blogger Bonding/Sex Toy Orgy– Saturday night I bonded with Epiphora, Aerie, and Queerashino Cherry. There was story-telling, wine drinking, and of course, vibrator loving! Also, now that I’ve felt the Mona2, I need one in my life!

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CatalystCon Part 2: Erotic Sensation, Feminist Porn, the “Ass Panel,” and More

Introduction to The Anatomy of Erotic Sensation (#cconerotic)

Robert Lawrence & Carol Queen 

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One of the themes that kept coming up during each panel I attended at Catalyst was that I need to keep learning more. During Introduction to The Anatomy of Erotic Sensation, Robert Lawrence and Carol Queen talked about the many forms of touch, and I realized that I don’t actually know a lot about the biology behind sensations. Did you know that when you talk about a body part (sexual or not), that it actually gets warmer? Or that vibration & cold are similar sensations, and that if you hold either for too long, they cause numbness? How about the terms proprioception or interoception? In general, the study of sexual sensation is new and not very expansive. We still don’t know much. But as Carol Queen said, we can each become an expert of our own experience through exploration, and as Robert Lawrence suggested, we can learn and do our homework (take a biology or chemistry class, or read about Receptor Theory, Field Theory, Summation, etc.)

The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe (#cconfemporn)

Tristan Toarmino, Constance Penley, April Flores, Sinnamon Love, Danny Wylde, and Jane Ward

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The Politics of Producing Pleasure: Feminist Porn in Industry and Academe was incredibly thought provoking and interesting. I especially appreciated it when Jane Ward admitted that she watches sexist porn, but does so in feminist ways (for example, she enjoys bukkake porn, but pictures herself as one of the men ejaculation on the kneeling woman), and that viewing stigmatized porn allows her to move into her darkest and most frightening places. I identified with this because I enjoy reading about/watching dark sex scenes (for example gang-bang/rape fantasies), and although it can be hard to admit that I like it, I think it’s important to be honest about what turns us on, even if it’s “transgressive” and to examine why we enjoy it.

The “Ass Panel”: The Ins and Out of Anal Pleasure (#cconass)

Ruby Ryder, CT Schenk, Tom Stewart, Charlie Glickman

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The ass panel was the fullest (pun-intended) panel at Catalyst. The discussion covered both the physical and emotional benefits of exploring prostate/anal play as well as the stigmas associated with it and how we can work to break through them. I loved Charlie Glickman’s answer to the initial question: what should we tell men about why they should explore erotic anal stimulation?—because it feels good. Some people can experience hours and hours of prostate pleasure, so why not give it a try? Ruby Ryder also talked about the emotional benefits of reversing the typical gender roles through pegging, and the greater understanding, compassion, and intimacy it creates. One of my favorite moments in the panel was when CT Schenk from Aneros admitted that after customers kept asking him if he’d tried their products (he hadn’t) he realized that he too had misconceptions about prostate pleasure, and that he’s moved past them.

Tristan Taormino’s Sex Eduactor Bootcamps I&II (#cconbootcamp)

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Before the trip, a few people asked me what I was going to learn in Tristan Taormino’s Bootcamp classes, and my honest answer was, “I don’t really know, but I do know that whatever Tristan has to say is probably worth it!” And I can now say it definitely was. Her courses covered everything from education and skills to marketing, branding, and networking, and although 6 hours’ worth of practical business advice would normally leave me half-asleep, Tristan made it engaging, inspiring, and at times, hilarious!  If you’re considering her classes in the future, I highly recommend them.

Building a Career Talking About Sex  (#cconcareer)

Lauren Marie Fleming (aka Queerie Bradshaw)

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During Building a Career Talking About Sex, Lauren Marie Fleming gave out advice on how to actually make money while taking into account all of the particular challenges that people in the sex-industry face. I learned a lot in her panel, such as how to create a pricing scale, how to boost my credibility (read, pod-casts, watch more porn!), how to market myself depending on the situation, and more. Though most of it was business oriented, the most inspiring part of the session for me was when Lauren talked about how she is currently making sacrifices to focus on her writing truth right now: personal grief and how it has affected her.

The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging (#cconage)

Joan Price

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The panel that moved me the most during Catalyst was The 5 Biggest Myths About Sex and Aging (#cconage) with Joan Price. I won’t go into it in depth here since I am writing a separate piece about how it affected me, but to summarize it was incredibly informative, touching, and inspiring!

Don’t forget to check out CatalystCon Part 1 (Dildos, dildos, dildos) if you haven’t already!

Catalyst Goodies

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I’ve been so busy in the week since I’ve been back from CatalystCon that I haven’t even had a chance to enjoy my goodies like The Feminist Porn Book, The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, the Aneros Evi, Jawbreaker Gag, Twisted Monk rope, the We-Vibe Thrill, or the FC2 Female Condoms yet…which one(s) should I go for first? 🙂

Toy with me Tuesday

CatalystCon Part 1: Dildos, Dildos, Dildos

I think we all know that dildos (and other sex toys) are generally pretty kick-ass. They can provide amazing, squirty orgasms and aid in fantasies, they come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes, and they’re super fun to photograph. But dildos can also do a lot of other things, like potentially make you money (reviews!) or poison your orifices, both of which I learned more about at CatalystCon West.

Will Write for Dildos: How and Why Companies and Reviewers Should Work Together (#cconreview)

(EpiphoraLorax Of Sex, Jenna Clark, Krista Arendsen)

I suspected that Will Write for Dildos would not only be informative but also entertaining, and I was right. In the panel, Epiphora and Lorax dished out some expert advice, complete with their signature sarcasm and wit, and they even did an impromtu rock, paper, scissors over who would answer my question!

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During the panel, Epiphora explained that reviews should be entertaining, well-written, informative, honest, and not sound like an ad or a boring list of specs. Some other pro-tips Piph and Lorax shared: never agree to someone who asks to “proofread” or pre-screen your review, don’t review for companies without an affiliate program, and be clear, concise, and professional in emails with partners. They also discussed what they’re looking for from manufacturers and retailers, such as trust, availability, communication, patience, and mutual support.

From the manufacturer perspective, Jenna shared what Tantus looks for from reviewers, like diversity, honest feedback, and commitment to sexual health values. Though respected bloggers often champion the importance of honesty in reviews, it was refreshing to hear that manufacturers like Tantus value sincere opinions as well, so that they know which products are working and which could use improvement, etc. Krista from Lovehoney also spoke about the importance of professionalism during communication and honesty in reviews, but also fairness, for example thinking about who a product might or might not work for, not just whether it’s your new favorite.

Are you sad you missed this panel or want to learn more about it? You can listen to and/or read the whole thing here! Also, check out Epiphora’s #cconreview panel resource page.

Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates with Metis Black (#ccontoxic)

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Another panel I found particularly important for my blog was Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates (#ccontoxic) with Metis Black from Tantus. I’ve known for quite a while now that phthalates (plasticizers added to PVC to soften it) are dangerous, and that since there is absolutely no regulation of sex toy materials, often toys are misleading labeled as silicone when they actually contain other materials. I was worried before, but after this panel I am all out horrified. Apparently there are lots of other dangerous chemicals, chemicals that could strip off paint or that should be labeled as radioactive, in sex toys as well, and not just jelly toys, but also others that we normally consider safe, such as hard plastic or glass.  Some glass toys that are made in China contain mercury and lead and can have tiny fissures that we can’t see.

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Some other important things I learned in the #ccontoxic panel were that the novelty label on toys doesn’t mean anything if it’s implied for sexual use in a store, that raw silicone costs 3x as much as TPR (hence the steeper prices), Triclosan (the ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps) is questionable as well, and that there is no proof that using condoms over jelly/other toxic toys will protect you (many have found it only delays reactions.)

Getting depressed just reading this? Luckily there is hope in Cali. Prop 65, which calls for clear and reasonable warning for reproductive toxicity and could mean a big WARNING label on toxic toys, as well as in organizations such as Dildology and informed manufacturers, retailers, bloggers, and consumers. We need to continue to learn more, spread the word, and only buy quality toys from manufacturers that actually oversee production.

Stay tuned for CatalystCon Part 2, which will be up soon!

Learn more:

Buying a Sex Toy: What You Need to Know

Dangers of Jelly Sex Toys

Dildology & Safe Sex Toys

Glass Sex Toy Facts

Metis Black on Toxic Toys: Beyond Phthalates

Phthalates in Sex Toys

Silicone Sex Toy Facts

 

Sex Toy Orgy

It started out with a couple of frisky Mona2 vibes…

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But then they decided to invite more friends over to play, and it quickly turned into a full on sex toy orgy, with Mona-on-Mona, Mona-on-Bootie, Bootie-on-Thrill, Mia-on-Crave action, and the The Revel Body looking like a big voyeuristic eyeball watching in the corner.

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The sex toy orgy happened at CatalystCon West with Epiphora, Aerie, and Queeraschino Cherry, some of my new amazing sex blogger friends! Stay tuned for a post coming up soon about the awesomeness of the event!

Toy with me Tuesday