Introduction to The Anatomy of Erotic Sensation (#cconerotic)
Robert Lawrence & Carol Queen
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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!