CatalystCon East Sexuality Conference a Success

After the Resounding Success of CatalystCon East, Founder Dee Dennis Announces CatalystCon West, September 27-29, 2013 

Over 350 attendees from around the U.S. and Canada – and as far as Sweden and the Netherlands – gathered in Arlington, VA March 15-17 for the sold-out CatalystCon East sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on sexuality-based topics such as erotic writing, “toxic toys”, body image and sexuality, homophobia in communities of color, and sex and disability. Described by founder and organizer Dee Dennis as a “melting pot of sexuality,” CatalystCon unites sex educators, sex workers, health advocates, writers, activists, and others with a passion for creating change.

CatalystCon continues to be such an important meeting of the minds for sex educators, thinkers, academics and community members,” said Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations and co-founder of The Center for Sex & Culture, who spoke at the Closing Keynote with her partner Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence. “It was a real honor to bring some historical perspective to some of our colleagues who’ve recently gotten involved with sex community, sex ed and CatalystCon.”

The official hashtag #ccon was used so often that it became a trending topic on Twitter on Saturday evening. The conversation continued during and after the conference using the main hashtag and customized hashtags for each session and special event, and many of the best tweets from the conference were curated using Storify. For more information, visit

Dennis is also proud to announce that over $900 was raised for sexuality education organization Scarleteen ( at CatalystCon East, thanks to fundraising efforts by conference staff and attendees and representatives from sponsors artpulp, Tantus and Sportsheets International. Other official sponsors of CatalystCon East included ANEROS, Pleasure Chest, Wet, EROS, the FC2 female condom, Good Vibrations, Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino, Sexquire and The Smitten Kitten. Find more info on the sponsors at

“Tantus Inc has always been an education based company,” said Tantus President and Founder Metis Black. “We were the first business to educate the industry about material safety and silicone sex toys, and when a sex positive conference that reached out to sex toy bloggers, sex educators, health workers and sex workers came we were one of the first to jump on board. Sponsorship at Catalyst isn’t a vending opportunity; it’s a chance to talk with peers and experts, hear their voices and ideas and share common ground.  We get one on one time with store affiliates, meeting the movers and shakers and social media’s who’s who. I feel so energized and full of ideas each show. Really, there are other educational conventions around but there’s only one CatalystCon.” CatalystCon West 2013 will be the third CatalystCon Sponsorship for Tantus.

CatalystCon returns to the west coast September 27-29, 2013 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service under President Clinton, is already confirmed as the Closing Keynote Speaker.

CatalystCon West is accepting speaker submissions until May 15, 2013. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations in the realms of sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon West, visit

“At CatalystCon, everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, and everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences,” Dennis said. “Everyone has something to offer, and the more participants, the better the experience — for everybody.”


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Is That The Message You Really Want to Promote?

Using social media to send the CORRECT message.

Storified by Dee Dennis · Wed, Oct 17 2012 11:58:12

Last evening I found myself in a twitter discussion with @FSCArmy over a photo they tweeted as part of their social media campaign to spread the word on @NoH8Campaign.  Social media can be a great way of getting people to see your message but it can also be a way of sending the wrong message. 
Below is the twitter conversation as it unfolded. They never understood what I was trying to say. One of the key elements behind CatalystCon is knowledge is power. Forget what message they were trying to send and focus on the message that photo sent to those outside of the adult industry, which is safe sex is a joke to performers. 
I’ve come across very few people who want to listen, who care and who want to get involved in issues that have to do with sex, sex worker and the adult industry.  Right or wrong that is a fact and one of the reasons I created CatalsytCon. To change those conversations.  
In my opinion as that former soccer mom (actually a hockey mom) who lived most of her life among those who think porn is awful and won’t admit to watching it, the best way to reach them is ways they relate to and understand and in their pocketbooks.  I think more effort and time should be spent educating the LA taxpayers of what this will cost them and the actual facts of STI’s on porn sets.  Not making a joke out of safe sex.
Does the adult industry, performers and those who work in it want those viewing photos such as this one to have their first impression be that performers think safe sex is one big joke?  
Sex workers (including porn performers) sadly are starting at a deficit because the majority of people in this country don’t care and look down on those who do sex work. I feel that this photo and the message it sends only endorses the opinions the mainstream public has about sex work and sex workers and I think that sucks.
Safe sex isn’t a joke and those trying to promote sex education will be the first to tell you that.  I agree that we can educate through humor and @MariaFalzone is a perfect example of that, but I also feel that this type of humor is misplaced.  
What @FSCArmy should be promoting and getting the word out is that this is an issue that affects everyone on many levels.  In the LA taxpayer pockets, the personal rights of performers and this being a forced method of birth control from the government.  Those are the issues they should be fighting in my opinion and not making dumbass jokes about safe sex practices.
But what do I know.  I’m just a former soccer mom.
<stepping off my soapbox now>

PRODUCERS: Show fans what a dental dam looks like NOT HOT pic at the link, courtesy GF_Films
Hey @FSCArmy – those are dishwashing gloves and Sarah Wrap. Safer sex shouldnt be mandatory in porn, but why are you promoting this hatred??Courtney Trouble
@FSCArmy I think it’s problematic to use these safer sex barriers in such a negative way! Im on your side, but this is how some ppl have sexCourtney Trouble
@FSCArmy I think it’s problematic to use these safer sex barriers in such a negative way! Im on your side, but this is how some ppl have sexCourtney Trouble
@FSCArmy @courtneytrouble being forced to do something is not cool but neither’s using images that mock some ppl personal safer sx practiceSyd Blakovich
@FSCArmy @SydBlakovich Who are you trying to reach with that message and will they find it humorous?Dee Dennis
@deedennis Some will find it humorous – we’re not moralizing, we’re illustrating. People shouldn’t learn sex ed from adult films or TwitterFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy I’m not saying you’re moralizing. What I’m asking is who you’re trying to reach with that message.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy If you are trying to reach the mainstream voter to support voting No you’re using the wrong message.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy You’re promoting the type of fears most people have about the porn industry instead of trying to educate them on the issues.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Clearly many on twitter didn’t find it humorous either. Maybe you need to rethink the message you’re actually sending in that photoDee Dennis
@FSCArmy But that is just my opinion and everyone has one.Dee Dennis
@deedennis Anyone that will listen – we don’t have $1.6M for advertising like AHF doesFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy Don’t focus on your lack of funding. Instead focus on trying to educate people who don’t understand the issues.Dee Dennis
@deedennis You are free to send a message to voters, too, and if it’s @NOtoMeasureB we’ll promote it (cont’d)FreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy The impression I get when I look at that photo is that your perpetuating stereotypes instead of changing them. Which is your battleDee Dennis
@FSCArmy It is a serious issue on many levels but that photo sends the message that the adult industry thinks it is a joke.Dee Dennis
@deedennis Right now, we’re using what some producers/performers have already produced & contributed to fight #MeasureBFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy I work everyday on trying to change the conversations and remove stigmas from sex with no budget for @CatalsytCon. It can be done.Dee Dennis
@deedennis Agreed that most people R not educated about the adult industryFreeSpeechCoalition
@deedennis Do U watch Jay Leno? He jokes about candidates, etc. Are U assuming that most people R too scared 2 recognize humor?FreeSpeechCoalition
@deedennis Sometimes humor can B a great way of breaking the ice in order 2 educate. Sorry U don’t find it funny. Congrats on your good workFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy My (and others tweeting to you) point is you’re not educating people with this type of stuff.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Are you seriously comparing this to Jay Leno? Jay Leno does not have stigmas attached to him already.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Frankly I am shocked that you don’t seem to understand that the adult industry is starting behind the 8 ball with this fight.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Most people in LA are uneducated about what the adult industry really is about & this photo is only reinforcing their impressions.Dee Dennis
@deedennis Not everything is about education – sometimes it’s a hi-impact statement 2 make a point; again, we hope ur not offendedFreeSpeechCoalition
@deedennis And we hope that you will talk to your audience & educate them about Measure BFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy Humor is a great way to get the message across. @mariafalzone is a great example. Many don’t find this humorous.Dee Dennis
@DeeDennis @FSCArmy Humor has its place in politics but when safe sex/sex ed is the butt of the joke, it doesn’t help your argument.EvilSlutClique
@FSCArmy Maybe you should rethink this strategy & look at ways to get the right message to the LA voters.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy I tried to have someone speak on this issue at @catalsytcon west last month & couldn’t get anyone to submit a session on it.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy I tweeted today asking for someone to speak on this topic at CatalystCon East next march.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Voters need to be informed and educated about the adult industry in order to vote No. Is your message doing that?Dee Dennis
@deedennis That’s what we’re doing to reach voters – we invite you to join!FreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy You’re totally missing my (and others) point. You don’t reach voters with a message/photo like that.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Out of your 75 likes on FB how many do you think are outside the adult industry? Those are the ones you need to reach.Dee Dennis
@DeeDennis Wnna know what voters reacted to? Our polling said that they support testing and they DON’T support wasting tax dollars on thisFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis What would be great? If U could get a grant to do proper sex education, instead of AHF sucking up funds to vilify pornFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy What are you talking about? I’ve never applied for a grant and I don’t have plans to. Stop focusing on AHF & focus on your messageDee Dennis
@FSCArmy Social media is basically free & instead of trying to reach people who don’t know the facts about this issue you’re wasting it.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy It doesn’t cost money to post messages that will educate those outside of the adult industry.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Instead of listening to what I and others are saying you’re trying to defend one dumb photo. That is a waste IMO.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Your photo doesn’t tell anyone how much of their tax dollars will be wasted if this is approved. That is what I’m talking about.Dee Dennis
@deedennis SATIRE the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.FreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis It’s not the social merit of satire that’s being argued; it’s a specific satire’s effectiveness as a messaging tool.Sabrina Morgan
@DeeDennis No we have many more messages than the photos, as I just sent you. You’re stuck on the photo becuz it offends you personallyFreeSpeechCoalition
@DeeDennis We don’t mean to offend U – different messages for different people, but we should respect everyone’s opinion (cont’d)FreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy The photo doesn’t offend me personally. I’m trying to point out that making a joke of safe sex isn’t the way to win votes.Dee Dennis
@DeeDennis Maybe U can write something about being pro-safer sex, but anti Measure B? That would be a lot more useful than arguing w/ usFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis Humor can be an effective tool if it brings your audience in with you, not against you…Sabrina Morgan
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis "Safer sex isn’t sexy enough for porn" is not the way to connect with the voters who don’t already agree with you.Sabrina Morgan
@FSCArmy You’re not understanding what I’m saying. It isn’t about ME. That photo is what the public sees associated with FSC & Measure B.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy I don’t care if you post that photo all over the internet. What I care about is friends who work in the industry.Dee Dennis
@SabrinaMorgan @DeeDennis Send a message about being pro-safer sex, but anti-Measure B – that would be more effective than arguing w/ usFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy I personally feel you do a disservice to FSC and performers in the adult industry when you make dumb jokes like that. JMODee Dennis
RT @SabrinaMorgan: Problem with sex-positive social justice: we’re unwilling to think or talk in ways that aren’t "ours" so our thoughts don’t leave the bubbleDee Dennis
@SabrinaMorgan Are you thinking of the same @CatalystCon session idea I am :)Dee Dennis
@DeeDennis I think so! Session proposal inbound within 24…Sabrina Morgan
@SydBlakovich @courtneytrouble As I just said 2 ur cohorts: write about being pro safer sex, but anti-Measure B>would be helpful :-)FreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy @SydBlakovich @courtneytrouble I am not anyones cohorts. I’m a soccer mom turned sexuality conference organizer who gives a shit.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy @SydBlakovich @courtneytrouble No other way to say it than you made an error with that photo & message. Simple solution: fix it.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy @SydBlakovich @courtneytrouble Stop asking everyone to write for you when the message you just put out there is wrong.Dee Dennis
Okay, I’m done for the evening of trying to make someone see what they don’t want to even look at. Someone pass the nutella please.Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll be happy to. My intent was to share what’s worked for me w/ advocacy, not to argue.Sabrina Morgan
@DeeDennis U’re entitled to it Those pics were made by industry performers, not FSC. That’s the statement they wanted 2 make & we respect itFreeSpeechCoalition
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis I know it’s hard not to feel defensive when something like this happens but encouraging others to spread the message…Sabrina Morgan
@FSCArmy @DeeDennis …from different angles is a good response. I hope you’re not still feeling so attacked. We want this to succeed. :)Sabrina Morgan
@deedennis here’s another photo that many found offensive – but very effective
@FSCArmy What was Larry Flynt trying to educate voters about with that photo?Dee Dennis
@FSCArmy Rather than ask others to do better, take responsibility for your problematic messaging @DeeDennis @SydBlakovich @courtneytroubleEvilSlutClique
@FSCArmy I encourage you to submit to speaker at @CatalystCon on this subject. It is one way of spreading the message. Dennis
@SabrinaMorgan @FSCArmy I agree from different angles is a good idea. I’ve invited FSC to do a session on this at @CatalystCon.Dee Dennis
@DeeDennis @fscarmy Great plan. That venue gives enough talk time to win over people who will take the message out into the world.Sabrina Morgan
@SabrinaMorgan @FSCArmy I think that is an excellent venue to educate those who don’t know enough about this issue & spread the message.Dee Dennis
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CatalystCon Sparks Positive Discussions about Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance

Dee Dennis co-founder of the revolutionary Momentum Conference held each spring in Washington DC is now bringing her talents and determination to spark open communication about sexuality, activism and acceptance to the west coast.

CatalystCon will be making its debut at the Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center in Long Beach, California September 14-16. “This conference is meant to energize, enlighten and exhilarate a positive discussion about sexuality, the current state of women’s rights, and to encourage people to take action in their local communities” says Dee Dennis founder of CatalystCon “Now more than ever we need to continue to educate ourselves and share that knowledge to help ignite change.

CatalystCon is focused on reaching out and stimulating the activist within everyone to help transform the way our friends, neighbors, and politicians approach and discuss one of the single most important aspects of humanity. CatalystCon welcomes everyone to partake in the discussion and help to influence change in how our communities approach sexuality. “The fundamental principal of CatalystCon is that knowledge is power and sharing that knowledge is the first spark to igniting the change in conversations” says Dee Dennis “CatalystCon will bring that spark and energy to the west coast.”

CatalystCon will be accepting application for speakers until June 1st from anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations in the realms of sexuality, activism and acceptance. Individuals, therapists, educators, media specialists, bloggers, activists, women’s rights advocates, health professionals, and others are encouraged to submit an application. To find out more about becoming a speaker at CatalystCon please visit Call for Speakers page.


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Welcome to my new (and improved) home.

It was time to close the blog that began it all and begin something new.  I’m no longer that person who created a blog as a joke and it grew into so much more in the last three years.  I’m ready to move on and this is the beginning.

I’ve transfered the content from my blog.  Imagine me, the tech dummy being able to do that.  It was so much simpler that I ever thought possible.  I’m still adding content to the pages and side bar but hope to have it finished before I leave on my Island vacation next week.

Now I need to go figure out how to do that automatic forward thing from blogger……..

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