Celebrating Diversity, Collaboration and Conversation-CatalystCon

Celebrating Diversity, Collaboration and Conversation-CatalystCon

midlife sexuality, aging, communication

The schwag bag has been opened. The Lube Shooter, lubricant delivery device, is still in its package—where it will remain. The Kinklab Bondage tape is open and has been tested. And, no it’s not painful to take off…it’s made of some non-adhesive material that binds the desired objects together, quite effectively, but is easily removed when desired (teeth may be required).

So, what’s it like to attend CatalystCon, a sexuality conference?  It was a bit of an eye-opener (even for a liberal like me), empowering and awe-inspiring to see so many people talking openly about sex, sexuality, education, and breaking down barriers. Add to that being able to present a midlife point of view to the conversation and it was pretty fabulous.

We came together for 2 nights and 2 and 1/2 days of conversation around sexuality. We came from other countries and across the US. Ages ranged from the young to the old. Betty Dodson, the keynote speaker, is in her mid-80s. I’m sure there were attendees in their 20’s, if not 18-20 (I’m not sure of the legal age limit). As an almost 60-year-old, I was in the smaller percentage of attendees. 

The conference, in the relatively conservative Washington D.C. area, welcomed people of every possible gender orientation/identity and sexual practice. Educators, sex workers, academicians, health professionals, counselors/therapists, media experts, writers, bloggers, actors, and individuals seeking knowledge. 

There was a place for everyone. Sessions were wide-ranging and inclusive. Woven through most of the conversations was an underlying concern for safety, rights, advocacy and education whether the topic was LGBTQ, kink, disabilities, living with an STI, or stripping away stereotypes and prejudice towards various groups-which includes the aging. We’re all part of this world and our freedom to practice and experience living freely, and living as sexual beings is often threatened.  

I made some new friends, allies and potential collaborators. I had fun; I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned much. I hope that I was able to provide helpful information to those who attended my presentation as well. 

It’s not every day that one sees a conference organizer proudly walking around with a ‘gem’ encrusted riding crop. Or the guy in a suit and tie talking about the pleasures of anal play and healthy prostate massage. Well known porn stars sharing their vision of a safer world for sex workers, young women with pink and blue hair sharing an enthusiastic vision of working with the elderly. 

If we all spent more time working together to open conversations, erasing all those things that divide us, the world would be a gentler place. And, we’d be having much more sex—joyfully! 

 

18 Comments
  • Laura
    Posted at 08:56h, 18 March Reply

    How wonderful to gather with the wonderful myriad of sex positive people to celebrate and learn about who we love and express passion together.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:09h, 18 March Reply

      Laura,
      Yes. It was a fabulous experience…so much energy and commitment to the work. It’s hard not be moved by the work done and the amount of work still to be done.

  • Ms. Quote
    Posted at 09:38h, 18 March Reply

    I wish I could have been there. I really try to stay on top of everything and not just the things that interest me. I was glad that you and Betty Dodson were there. I think it’s important for younger people to know that they have a whole lifetime of great sex and intimacy ahead of them and that it gets better with time.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:50h, 18 March Reply

      You would have enjoyed it, I have no doubt. And, yes that was certainly a part of my message. There is no age limit on our sexuality.

      There were a couple of presentations around aging. And, a couple of very well known ‘older’ women talking about new ways of working with older adults around sexuality- Annie Sprinkles and Veronica Hart, who is going to start working on sexuality education. I saw lots of public health folks as well…several in my presentation. I think as the population shifts this work is shifting as well…now the rest of the world needs to catch up.

  • Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs
    Posted at 10:07h, 18 March Reply

    This would be WAY out of my comfort zone, but I love reading your take on the conference. Best wishes for lucrative projects with your “potential collaborators.”

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:31h, 18 March Reply

      Lisa, I suspect so. As people involved in education, all sorts and at all levels, we all shared a commonality. I’m so glad I had the opportunity.

  • Jenny
    Posted at 10:18h, 18 March Reply

    Good on ya!!

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:29h, 18 March Reply

      Thank you! Good time was had by all.

  • Joan Price
    Posted at 10:44h, 18 March Reply

    This conference is mind-blowing and life-altering. Each time I go, I feel that we create a temporary world where true diversity and acceptance of differences are embraced. It’s the world I’d love to live in full-time.

    • Walker
      Posted at 11:30h, 18 March Reply

      Yep, me too. Such wonderfully diverse people. I made some delightful new friends. You were missed.

  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com
    Posted at 15:39h, 18 March Reply

    Hi Walker! Congratulations on stepping out of your comfort zone and attending something that stretched you. I think most of us like to think we are that kind of a person but when it comes down to it we usually hold ourselves back. What did Eleanor Roosevelt say, “Do one thing every day that scares you?” Well I think you accomplished that. And thanks for the reminder that we all can push that boundary of whatever we write about, if we are willing to be fearless! ~Kathy

    • Walker
      Posted at 17:20h, 18 March Reply

      Kathy, love the Roosevelt quote. We don’t grow playing it safe. It’s stepping out and risking that presents us with opportunities for growth. Change is a good thing, right?

  • Mindy
    Posted at 18:16h, 18 March Reply

    Thanks, Walker! So happy that it was a great event for you. I would love to hear/read the talk you gave..soon, I hope!
    Mindy
    Lubeoflife.com

    • Walker
      Posted at 06:52h, 20 March Reply

      Mindy, thank you. I’m still processing and making connections with other attendees. More to follow!

  • RavenHarte
    Posted at 21:37h, 21 March Reply

    Thank you so much for bringing your wisdom, and voice to CatalystCon East. It really is the one community where I have found that all voices are enthusiastically encouraged to speak because all the attendees really do want to hear them. If I ever had a complaint about Ccon its that there is never enough time to talk to every one who touches us, moves us, or makes us think. Im glad your experience was so positive and hope to see you at next year’s con as well!!!

    • Walker
      Posted at 06:02h, 22 March Reply

      Raven,
      Thank you. I met so many great people and missed the chance to meet more–including you. Always a good reason to come back and keep engaging. This conversation is so important and I was honored to be a part of it! Hope we get to meet at some point in the near future.

  • Talking Sex-a Weekend at CatalystCon West - Walker Thornton
    Posted at 18:08h, 11 September Reply

    […] am presenting again at CatalystCon, I spoke about sex education for midlife women back in March. On Sunday Will Fredericks and I will  be giving a presentation on Working with a […]

  • Embracing and Reframing Sexuality - CatalystCon West 2014 - Walker Thornton
    Posted at 13:48h, 18 September Reply

    […] was my third CatalystCon conference, and my second time as a speaker. Each conference has its own unique flavor. The West Coast conference draws a different crowd than […]

Post A Comment