CatalystCon features speakers from all over the country and beyond twice a year, and the topics covered this weekend ranged from navigating alternative lifestyles to erotic hypnosis to slut shaming to porn journalism to online harassment, and many, many more.
The opening keynote event was Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance with Alex S. Morgan, Dr. Chris Donaghue, Jenny Block, Mireille Miller-Young, PhD, moderated by Tristan Taormino. Closing keynote was with Joani Blank, founder of Good Vibrations.
But the highlight for me was attending Toys For a SexAbled Life: Fun, unique and adaptable ways to give and receive satisfying pleasure with erotic toys with Robin Wilson-Beattie and Bethany Steven, J.D., M.A. who were highly entertaining right from the beginning. They began with an ice-breaker where everyone in the audience gave their personal reason for attending the seminar. There were veterans with PTSD, a woman coping with Multiple Sclerosis, a child of disabled parents, a woman with a shallow vagina, someone with chemical sensitivities – and of course myself, as I’ve been trying to get manufacturers to make sex toys for people with disabilities and limitations for twenty years. It was more than an ice-breaker – it was an eye-opener to realize how varied disabilities can be, and how important it is to talk about how we can all have better sex.
My favorite moments in the talk were the shared personal stories, which were so heart-warming and enlightening, not to mention useful. Robin told a cautionary story about falling asleep with a cheap vibrator and burning her vulva. Obviously she was adamant about the importance of buying high quality toys.
Bethany and Robin cited many toys for being ‘disabled-friendly,’ such as Liberator’s toy mount sex furniture. They cited clinical sexologist and speaker Dr. Marylou Naccarato who told her about the Liberator sex furniture which is great if you are small, big, or if you have no arms, or if your arms are not long enough to reach your genitals. It’s also good for stroke victims who may have paralysis on one side. You can rock with it, and insert your favorite toy – for either gender.
Bethany got this Liberator toy mount as a wedding present from renowned sexologist Dr. Mitch Tepper and she gave it to Robin as a teaching tool. Here she has it mounted with a Fleshlight masturbator, but you can insert many types of vibrators or dildos.
Other toys mentioned were the Revel Body with its long extended handle, Sportsheets that fit Velcro attachments and wash off easy for squirting or accidents, and gloves for dexterity pain, which give you added grip.
The suggested best BDSM paddle was by Tantus, chosen for its light weight and they also talked about using the St. Andrew’s Cross on the floor for disabled access.
Like everyone, many disabled people have parts of their bodies that they are most sensitive about. Bethany was self-conscious about the small size of her feet, until her partner told her how much she loved her feet and how sexy they were. This aroused them both, culminating in the most amazing sexual experience where she actually penetrated her partner with her foot. She said that having sex in a wheelchair makes all kinds of positions possible, however one of her fantasies is to actually have sex with her wheelchair, and she’s open to suggestions on how to do it!
On the trade room floor, I got the scoop from the latest at We-Vibe, who just got distribution in China, which is great since I was just showing the We-vibe in China last week and the women went crazy for it.
Jenny Block wowed her audience at her keynote speech about discovering your ultimate orgasm. Sexpert.com has a free excerpt of her fabulous book O Wow here.
I bought the last copy of Dr. Carol Queen and Shar Rednour’s book The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex For Everyone. Stay tuned for a review in the Books section.
Here I am with Tamar and Raymond Reilly, sex surrogates who are getting their doctorates this year, with their dog Zen.
Dr. Katie Loree, psychotherapist and MFT here in Los Angeles. She specializes in polyamorous relationships.
My only regret is that I couldn’t attend the memorial for my dear friend and feminist porn pioneer Candida Royalle. Candida changed the face of adult filmmaking by daring to take a women’s perspective, making films with real story lines and natural performers. She brought class, dignity and female empowerment to the industry.
She was one of a kind and will be truly missed.