LONG BEACH, Calif, – This weekend’s CatalystCon conference at the Hilton Long Beach brought together sexuality experts, activists, bloggers and a handful of adult industry professionals for more than 40 sessions and panels dedicated to achieving sex positivity.
Kicking off with an opening reception and the “Social Lubricant With Reid Mihalko” networking session, CatalystCon’s focus on sex education emerged in daily sessions, simultaneously held five at a time. The panel discussion topics ranged from women’s sexual rights, sex toy safety, as well as cultural and media issues surrounding sex.
For those not in attendance, CatalystCon discussions, conference news and feedback also were tracked through social media. Panelists encouraged attendees to share their experience through tweets that would appear in the live blog on the event’s website.
Among the shared experiences was sexpert Ducky Doolittle’s outfit selection for Saturday night’s Dirty Bingo, which was chosen by her followers, she said. Prior to that, Doolittle had hosted a presentation sponsored by Evi by Aneros.
Described as a guided tour of kegels and the “art of the orgasm,” Doolittle – a renowned sex ed professional of more than 20 years – shared with the room her experience growing up with a physical deformity that forced her into strengthening her PC muscles, and all the benefits that followed. The self-proclaimed “kegel monster” said that she personally contacted Aneros in support of the brand’s first-ever female product.
“It’s totally unique,” Doolittle said in her presentation of Evi. “Aneros understands the anatomy unlike any other company.”
During the presentation, a raffle gifted 11 attendees with an Evi of their own. According to CatalystCon creator Dee Dennis, called the launch of Evi by Aneros at CatalystCon “groundbreaking.”
“As opposed to debuting a product with a launch party, Evi debuted with actual information – Ducky broke it all down,” Dennis said.
Aneros CEO CT Schenk said that the motive behind debuting Evi at the conference was to present the product to sex educators and get feedback from experienced users.
“We wanted to reach people that are more interested in how Evi works and not whether it sells,” Schenk said. “We’re interested in creating a buzz for Evi and connecting with women with first-hand experiences with kegel fitness and incorporating their feedback to solve any issues. Releasing this product any other way would’ve reflected the wrong goal.”
The Pleasure Chest’s Sarah Tomchesson attended CatalystCon to spearhead its Sex is Back campaign.
“We’re creating a microsite called Sex is Back and we’re here filming testimonials from sex educators and regular people sharing personal sexual experiences,” Tomchesson said. “We want to make sex be more a part of people’s dialogue and if they see themselves in the testimonials, it could help spread positivity.”
Erica Grigg of GetLusty.com, a six-week-old online resource for couples, attended CatalystCon to connect with fellow sex bloggers and experts.
“We want to connect with sex educators and get our name out there,” Grigg said. “We feature a variety of experts, as well as products on our site and are looking for more mission-driven writers to sign on.”
With CatalystCon East slated for March 15-17 in Washington DC, the future of CatalystCon West depends on the support of sponsors and attendees.
“I think CatalystCon went great,” Dennis said. “The West Coast version is a little different than what we’ve done before, but everything that you’ve seen [at the conference] is exactly what I wanted. It’s been amazing – everyone has been gushing about it all weekend. I would love to do this every year but it all comes down to sponsors.”
Dennis said that she predicts the future of CatalystCon to equate to Momentum with steady annual growth. Additionally, with adult business heavier on the West Coast, Dennis says she hopes to tailor CatalystCon to include B2B-focused components.