CatalystCon West: An Overview

March 17, 2014 No Comments by Annamarie

Last summer, Tristan Taormino began mentioning a sex-educators’ conference that she would be teaching/presenting at, called CatalystCon. Intrigued, I registered and booked my travel. Up until then, the conferences I’d been to had been almost entirely BDSM events focused on how-to workshops, shopping for toys, and play.

CatalystCon changed my life, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest. The initial draw was the opportunity to attend Tristan’s Sex Educator Bootcamp, so I flew in a day early to allow myself to completely immerse in the experience. If you are or want to be a sex educator, blogger, writer, etc, TAKE THIS COURSE. I have continued to reference the resources and my notes from that day, and it provided the solid kick in the ass to make some forward movement with this part of my life.

Bootcamp was followed by the Opening Keynote featuring Jackie Strano, Shira Tarrant PhD, Sinnamon Love, and Yoseñio Lewis. Robert Lawrence & Carol Queen received Catalyst Awards for their amazing work with The Center for Sex & Culture (among other things.) The conversation ranged from the Kink Health Project and parenting as a sex worker to rape culture on college campuses and the prison industrial complex.

Saturday and Sunday were packed with amazing workshops. Have you ever eaten to the point you feel you might burst? That’s what my head felt like at the end of each day, but in the best possible way. As soon as I get to my old event program, I’ll list out all the classes I was in. (This is what I get for taking 6 months to write this!)

The closing plenary was Dr. Lynn Comella interviewing Dr. Joycelyn Elders and it was amazing. I feel quite blessed to have had the opportunity to see Dr. Elders in my lifetime. I truly hope that we get another attorney general who not only accepts but encourages sexual health (and masturbation!) openly.

After that weekend, I immediately registered for CatalystCon East. This is now my bi-annual burnout prevention program. I highly recommend it!

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