I’d actually heard of CatalystCon what feels like a couple of years ago, but for various reasons had been unable to attend one until now. Illness or conflicting schedules meant I had to put it off. The funny thing is, I’ve been going to events in the local sex positive community like Bawdy Storytelling and others and upon introducing myself to people I would often hear the line, “Didn’t we meet at Catalyst?” To which I’d explain that I had never been to one, so that couldn’t be the case. (I guess I can’t use that line anymore…)
I’ve been to several sexuality conferences in the past and this was my first time to CatalystCon. I truly had a blast! I found it to be organized; professional without being stuffy; welcoming; diverse – both in people attending and the fields represented. My main “complaint” is a selfish one: I wished the conference was longer! I think it would have been awesome to have had an additional full day (or two?) of sessions.
One of the cool things about going to conferences in general is you get to jam pack tons of information into a day. With multiple sessions going on at the same time, no two schedules or experiences are exactly the same. And what I loved about Catalyst as opposed to other conferences that I’ve been to, is that I felt I was going to be able to use the new information (or refresher) right away rather than simply sitting in on a bunch research sessions which might be interesting but have little practical use right now.
The Catalyst Con weekend mixed in some amazing entertainment along with educational sessions. And the sessions themselves were quite varied. With topics challenging heteronormativity and accessibility, to the business of sex blogging and working in the field, to living with an STI, to sex and aging, to topics of consent, and way more! With podcasts being recorded in front of a live studio audience pretty much the entire conference, there was no shortage of options no matter where one’s interests lie.
At some point on Saturday, I more or less abandoned my trusty notebook (I go old school when I take notes. Don’t hate!) and was just full on live-tweeting. Probably one of my favorite sessions that I did this in was one on consent called “21st Century Sex Ed: Beyond Just Saying No” by Dr. Hernando Chaves, who I look to as one of my mentors.
Here are just some of the memorable tweets from #cconsexed.
Can I also just say how much I love and appreciate when a conference is in this century with the live-tweeting option and pre-planned hashtags? It’s really phenomenal, in my opinion. Not only can conference goers keep up with other concurrent sessions they can’t attend (because we can’t be in two places at once), but folks who were unable to attend the conference are also able to benefit from what we post on social media.
And what a treat it was to meet and mingle both with legends in the field and people who are up and coming! From the pioneers who have blazed the trail so that people like me can attempt to do what we do, to sex educators who are on the ground doing the work in various ways, to the sex toy manufacturers who strive to create body-safe implements for everyone to enjoy, to new people I connected with and can now call friends and colleagues, CatalystCon had it all. I am including a few of the moments I was able to capture. I missed out on so many photo ops, but I’ll just take that as a lesson for the next one!
Visiting the Tantus Table
Getting to hear Carol Queen interview Betty Dodson
Getting my photo taken with Betty! (Total fangirl moment.)
Getting to experience snow for one of the few times in my life! (I’m from Los Angeles.)
— Dr. Victoria Reuveni (@DrVixenne) March 17, 2014