You always learn the most when you're interacting with the people between the workshops at sex education conventions like CatalystCon. Don't get me wrong, the workshops are worthy of the price of entrance. But its the intimate moments when all that juicy bits of sexual goodness really hit home.
Case in point. We have an hour before the next workshop. One hour to carpe the fuck out our diem. We're on the bed surrounded by cuffs and toys. Too many options for our pressing time.
"Do you use Reid's Safer Sex Elevator Speech?" I should know this. I talk about consent all the time. I suddenly feel like I didn't study enough for the pop quiz. I mean, Reid Mihalko is definitely somewhere at the same hotel being a role model of the sexual change he wants to see in the world. He lives for that shit. Look how ridiculously happy he is doing his thing for sexual freedom and advocating for enthusiastic consent.
Anyway, back in the hotel room with my sexual spelunker, I stubble on with a gracious, "Uhh...."
He leads by example. He's got this shit down. In less than 60 seconds we've covered testing, preferences, and limits. Check, check, and check.
But I am convicted. I have not been practicing what I preach to the mainstream still struggling to understand what consent looks like. Being at sexual freedom conferences is a bubble of acceptance for free sexual expression. Outside of the bubble, I should be be teaching in action. That's what it means to be a sex activist.
I stutter through a negotiation at first, but after a while it seems much like negotiating a kink scene. But honestly, I felt a little guilty about not practicing what I preach to the baller level of the people I want to call colleagues. I promise myself to do better.
Guilt, by the way, its not the same as shame. Which was the topic of Amy Joe Goddard and Marcia Baczynski workshop at CatalystCon. I was a fan of Amy Joe Goddard when she did a TedxTalk about Owning your Sexual Power.
Her workshop was, of course, spectacular. But maybe one of my favorite parts of the event was seeing her talk about Sapiosexuality at Bawdy Storytelling in a Los Angeles club.
Grace Under Fire
Another moment that hit home was the grace involved in calling people "in" on their mistakes instead of calling them "out." @TristanTaormino and @Jenny_Block demonstrated the moment perfectly on a panel. Jenny had been laying down truth bombs about the patriarchal focus of sex all night, like this gem:
Then at while on panel, she slipped up on her awareness of privilege just a bit. Mistakes happen, but shame never needs to.
Trigger Warnings. This again.
On the topic of trigger warnings, I have my conversional opinions. Though I was happy to know I wasn't the only one to share my thoughts about this recent trend towards harm avoidance coping strategies and speech policing. Sex writer and therapist Buster Ross seemed to have a similar line of thinking about trigger warnings.
Here are more of my thoughts on trigger warnings.
I Survived Sex Educator Boot Camp
The highlight of CatalystCon had to be Tristan Taormino. It really took all I had not to fan girl her, and I actually couldn't resist and ended up getting her autograph on my copy of "Opening Up." I got more about of the first part of her Sex Educator Boot Camp Workshop that I have many others. I agree with @Dawn_Serra here. Tots a rockstar.
Kink As Sexual Orientation
I didn't realize when I went into this workshop that it was led by Richard Sprott. He is the co-author of he book "Sexual Outsiders" which inspired me to do my first two #KinkyReadings. I was really touched to be able to speak to him about how powerful his book was, and how important it is to think about sexual orientation that is not focused around gender.
There were some voices of dissent from across the room. But I think I made my point about seeing sexuality as a spectrum that includes more than gender, and that is fluid, evolutionary, and revolutionary.
I did tell him.
"Sex Outside The Lines" by Chris Donaghue, Ph.D.
I think I'm going to have to find someone very special to Chris Donaghue's "Sex Outside the Lines" for my next #KinkyReading. I feel more sexually liberated just being within 20 feet of him. He definitely had some powerful effects on me.
This is actually twice now Reid had just what I needed right in front of my sweet little face.