18 Mar Celebrating Diversity, Collaboration and Conversation-CatalystCon
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!