For a relatively small conference much has already been written about CatalystCon.
My ‘review’ is not about the content of the conference, but about the idea of the conference as a catalyst for change.
Unlike so many of the attendees at CatalystCon I do not work in the industry. I came to the conference as an amateur sex geek. When I am interested in a topic I tend to dive in deep, and over the past few years nothing has interested me more than sexuality.
While thrilled that I have conquered the shame about my own sexual identity that has held me back for so many years, I continue to be frustrated that it took me so long to get here. This frustration has been channeled at the sex-negativity that led me to live in shame. From the parenting that reinforced what it meant to ‘act like a man’, to the society that prevents sex from being discussed honestly, to the media that portrays a sexless marriage as inevitable; I had bought into it all and resent that I did.
Fortunately I found the resources that helped me to open my eyes and understand that most of what I knew about sex and sexuality, gender and relationships was incomplete or incorrect. I came to CatalystCon hungry for more information that I could use on my journey, and to better understand how I could help others who travel the same path.
Over the weekend I attended a number of panels. All were valuable, all were great experiences. While I set out to review these sessions; more so than the sum of its content, it was the event itself that made the greatest impact on me. While some in attendance may take this for granted, many of us find far too few opportunities where we can talk openly about sexuality. Spending a weekend in an environment where there is a shared passion to change the dialogue about sex was refreshing and impactful.
By providing a forum that attracted so many wonderful people, the conference fulfilled its mission in serving as a catalyst for change, sparking many conversations that carried beyond the walls of the Hilton. I have witnessed conversations that began at the conference and spread to those not in attendance who wish they were, and to those who never dreamed of attending such an event. Since the conference ended just one week ago, the spark of CatalystCon has continued for me at a meetup of fellow sex geeks, in online conversations, and discussions with my children. Energized by the conference and armed with advice from presenters and fellow attendees, I found my voice in a blog launched the evening I returned from the conference where I hope to one day serve as a catalyst for someone in need.