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September 19, 2016

CatalystCon Wraps West Coast Edition

LOS ANGELES—CatalystCon celebrated its fifth West Coast installment with an impressive lineup of sessions and speakers, as well as a number of new events. The conference designed to create conversations about sexuality and more opened its run at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel with the new Pleasure Products Symposium on Thursday, Sept. 15. The event made its debut this year, and facilitated conversations about the industry between manufacturers, retailers, sex educators and more. “This was something I have been wanting to do for many years,” said CatalystCon founder Dee Dennis. “I wanted to create a place where they key people would be able to have open discussions about where the industry is, where it can go and more.” On Friday, attendees were able to participate in networking sessions and specialized meet-ups—this year saw a military/veterans meet-up—and Pervy Pin Trading. Also new this year was the CCON Post Office, an area where attendees could leave messages for one another, ranging from flirty words to praise to those looking for more than friendship. On Saturday, the conference started in earnest with several dozen sessions over two days, including 25 Tips for Sexy Aging, Queer & Trans Sexual Health, Care and Control in Power Exchange Relationships, Mico-aggressions of Desire and more. Some sessions focused more specifically on the adult entertainment, including The Truth About Porn and Coming Out Like A Porn Star: On Pornography, Protection, and Privacy. In The Truth About Porn, Ph.D. student Caroline Ryan discussed her research into feminism and porn that centers on the voices of actual workers. Her talk touched on numerous studies that have been produced, particularly by anti-porn individuals and groups, in an effort to prove the evils and harms of pornography. The problem with many of those studies, she pointed out, is that some had flawed data collection—one study used only 44 reviews of movies printed in AVN magazine to draw conclusions about violence in pornography—while others looked only for “evidence” to support their claims. Gail Dines was a major part of Ryan’s discussion, as was Shelley Lubben—both women are often deemed “experts” by the anti-porn crowd. The problem, Ryan noted, is that there is a pyramid of hirerarchy, which places academics and politicians at the top and actual performers and other sex workers at the bottom.  When it comes to the “truth” about pornography, she said, most studies, claims and definitive statements about its ills and harms often need to be disputed based on the sample sizes of studies, the methodology used, definitions used and more. In addition to the full slate of seminars, meet-ups and more, CatalystCon also hosted a Happy Hour event in memory of Joani Blank, the founder of adult retailer Good Vibrations who died recently. For more information on CatalystCon, click here.

 
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