2018 SexPosCon Schedule
Registration8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Opening/Welcome8:00 am - 8:30 am
Sex Positivity --Primal Sexuality: Us Damn Dirty Apes --How Being Sex Positive Can Save the World8:30 am - 9:30 am
Sex Positivity --Intersections of Sex Positivity and Black Queer Empowerment --Queer and Trans Relationships9:25 am - 10:25 am
A.M. Coffee (provided)/Networking10:30 am - 11:00 am
Keynote Address: Consent is the Foundation of Sexual Freedom11:00 am - 11:45 am
Lunch (offsite)11:45 am - 1:00 pm
Violence and Healing --From Rape to Rapture: Exploring Rape-kink --Let's go Deep: Somatic Healing1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Polyamory and Families -- Family Resilience and Polyaffectivity --Polyamory Personality --What About the Children?2:10 pm - 3:10 pm
P.M. Coffee (provided)/Networking/Poster Presentations3:10 pm - 3:45 pm
Body Image --Trans Tales and Queer Witches --Fat and Sexy3:45 pm - 4:45 pm
Sexy Homework --Everyday Erotic --Increasing Mindfulness --Do Try This at Home --Women's Vibrator use4:55 pm - 6:15 pm
Closing6:15 pm - 6:45 pm
Registration8:00 am - 10:00 am
A.M. Coffee (provided)/Networking/Poster Session8:00 am - 9:00 am
BDSM --Health Disparities among Kink Identified People --Motivations for Engaging in Sex and BDSM --Emotional Intelligence in BDSM8:30 am - 9:30 am
Marginalized Groups --What Does it Mean to be Kink Identified? --Barriers and Benefits of a Kink Community --Reflecting the Voices of Sex Workers9:40 am - 10:40 am
--The Challenges and Pitfalls of Obtaining Sex Positive Healthcare --Journal of Positive Sexuality Panel Discussion10:50 am - 12:00 pm
Closing Remarks12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Lunch (offsite)12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Certification Program Workshop (includes coffee/tea service)2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Guided Dungeon Experience10:00 pm - 2:00 am
2018 SexPosCon Presentation Descriptions
Evolved to be Positively Sexual: Biological Anthropology and Us Damn Dirty Apes
Kassandra McFarland MA & Candice Bird BA, LMT
Panel Presentation: We will discuss the intersections of biological anthropology and positive sexuality. Using evidence ranging from genital morphology and human evolution to attraction, touch, and flirting, we will provide biological evidence that speaks to humans’ truly elaborated and flexible sexuality and how this interacts with our biological and cultural communication. This research is a synthesis of multiple lines of evidence that culminate into a concise, biologically validated narrative of human sexuality, intelligence, and culture. It should be exciting to many different fields to contextualize humans’ insanely broad sexual repertoire and why, biologically speaking, sexuality is a necessary component to human-primates physical and mental health and well-being.
How Being Sex Positive Can Save the World
With the sex-positive movement in full swing, it’s an exciting time for advocates and educators alike. It feels like progress has occurred and society is starting to understand personal sexuality is multifaceted and unique. However there is another movement just as important as being sex-positive which too often gets stigmatized although it impacts all of our lives, and that is environmentalism. In some circles using the terms “environmentalist” and “tree-hugger” have negative connotations, almost like four-letter words. But what’s so wrong with wanting to protect the earth? Perhaps acknowledging the pleasure being on planet earth allows us to experience instead of just talking about the science that might shift perspectives. This presentation will focus on the strengths, well-being, and happiness a clean & healthy planet creates for all of us. I will also discuss a dynamic group of creative activists using their bodies and sexuality to save the planet, called ecosexuals.
The Intersections of Sex Positivity & Black Queer Empowerment
Jillian “Jay” Watts
Sex positivity is an ideology created to change a societal narrative on the shaming, blaming, and judgment in the confines of intimate and sexual activities. More specifically, sex positivity is not just talking about the presence of sex but also the absence and the ability to make informed, educational, and consensual decisions with one’s body. One area sex positivity has not equitably captured is the potential role in Black Queer empowerment. The intersectional aspects of sex, race, gender, and relationships and societal norms are all integral to access if we want to open up the metaphorical door to utilizing sex positivity as an emancipatory and liberating movement to aid in populations that are systemically and institutionalized oppressed in multiple realms. Let’s talk, specifically, about Black Queer Empowerment and the themes that are relative to multiple populations and the key to building stronger, healthier communities and relationships through sex-positivity.
Queer & Trans Relationships: Building a Sex-Positive Foundation
Sam Silverman & Leigh Montavon
Panel Presentation: As a queer non-binary transgender psychotherapy intern and a queer cisgender sex coach, both with trans partners, we will share our personal and professional knowledge about romantic and sexual relationships with trans partners. We will address healthy communication skills like using trans-affirming language and checking assumptions. We will focus on the tools needed to strengthen relationships and make space for joyful sex lives. We will explain what doing the work of being a supportive sexual/romantic partner looks like, including self-education, advocacy, and community engagement. We will share our personal experiences navigating our relationship dynamics, from co-parenting and transition to chronic illness and dysphoria. Finally, we will provide insight into positive and affirming experiences that have sustained our relationships.
From Rape to Rapture: Exploring Rape-kink
Andrew Pari, LCSW, Diplomate
For many survivors, sexual assault develops into severe trauma expressed as anxiety, depression, and a host of other symptoms requiring treatment, support, and recovery.
For some, however, their rape and abuse are converted into paraphilia, an enjoyment of linked elements of arousal, fear, and shame in the context of forced sex play.
This talk will focus on women who have turned their negative rape and sexual abuse experiences into a sexually positive experience, bringing joy into their darkness. This will be an expansion of this presenter’s prior work on rape and repetition compulsion, exploring how not all negative sexual experiences must end up in pathology. It stems from the concept that trauma and PTSD only affect 1/3 of those who go through a traumatic experience. What happens to the other 2/3?
Let's Go Deep: Using the Subconscious Mind with Somatic Healing!
JoJo DeRodrigo, CSB, CHT
This presentation focuses on how one can incorporate the subconscious mind to assist with Somatic touch (Sexological bodywork). How we can approach a client by using the words they have communicated (and how to get them to verbalize it) and physical contact to access new pathways to explore possible barriers, shame, trauma and allow the client to articulate erotic fantasies, wants or wishes.
Family Resilience, Polyaffectivity & What Monogamists Can Learn from Polyamory
Dr. Elisabeth Sheff
In this presentation, Dr. Sheff explains her concept of polyaffectivity, the impact it has on polyamorous families, and some implications for Serial-Monogamist families. She introduces polyamory, distinguishes it from other forms of consensual non-monogamy, and explains the longitudinal qualitative research methods in her 20-year study of polyamorous families with children. Sheff then explores poly families techniques, like flexibility and expanded relationships among adults, that allow them to craft resilient families, and closes with strategies that could be useful for non-polyamorous families and some time for questions.
What About The Children?
Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook
In our social construct, non-monogamy is still quite stigmatized. Those in non-monogamous relationships are often presented with the question – “What About The Children?” In this presentation, we will discuss how to best answer this question as well as how to discuss relationship configurations other than monogamy with our children.
Trans Tales and Queer Witches: Sex-Positive Images and Resources in Folklore
Dr. Jeana Jorgensen
In this talk, I bring insights from folklore studies to bear on contemporary issues in the study of and advocacy for positive sexuality. In defining folklore as a living part of the culture, not simply crusty old tales, we can become attuned to the resources that communities have used and still use today, from popular storytelling genres to coded forms of communication like the hanky code. Sexuality researchers, educators, and activists will leave this presentation with an appreciation for how studying folklore allows us to speak in terms of community resilience and resistance, as well as an understanding of how traditional views of sexuality still impact us today.
Fat and Sexy: A Fat Girl's Guide to the Bedroom
Ariella Salinas Fiore
Tackling the common problems women face in the bedroom with relation to their size (both mental and physical), along with the unique challenges that can face a plus-sized woman in the bedroom. Humor, History, Geometry, Science, and some sex education will be used to highlight how embracing HAES (Health at Every Size) should apply to sex as well, both with regard to sex with a partner and masturbation.
Jamila M. Dawson
As a culture, eroticism continues to be partitioned off from our daily experiences and relegated only to what we feel during sex. But what if we held the stance that cultivating the Erotic as an on-going practice could radically enhance all aspects of our lives and our relationships? Using concepts from relational Gestalt, social justice, and interpersonal neurobiology, join me for an exploration of the Erotic and the ways it can radically change our lives for the better!
Do Try This at Home: Making Good Use of Media Narratives About Sexual Well-Being
The vast majority of formal research into sexuality has emphasized its risks: unintended pregnancies, diseases, new addictions, and so on. The result is that the scientific literature is silent on many basic questions about what people desire and why. Without a dialogue between these ways of knowing, both make for poor guidance. In that spirit, this analysis highlights common messages in modern movies about routes to positive sexual interactions. These are interwoven with feedback from social scientific research, with particular attention to ways the individual can benefit from the best offerings of both.
HIV Positive and Sex Positive
Prizila Vidal & Brooke Sullivan
Poster Presentation: Being Trans Latina HIV Positive is a huge problem. We never talk about being HIV Positive and Sex Positive. We always talk about negative sex and protection. But what about being HIV Positive and on PrEP.
Health Disparities and Resiliencies among Kink-Identified People
Richard Sprott & Anna Randall
In 2016, the National Kink Health Survey (NKHS) collected data from over 1,100 kink-identified people within the United States. The presentation will review evidence from the 2016 NKSH that supports the proposal that kinky people are an unidentified sexual minority facing significant health disparities. The presentation will also review evidence for resiliencies and strengths in light of significant minority stress.
Motivations for Engaging in Sex and BDSM Behaviors
Stasie D. Dear
The primary goal of this research was to determine how sexual motivations differed based on BDSM engagement (BDSM or non-BDSM) and participant gender (male or female).
A total of 253 adults from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) responded to questions that tapped motivations for sexual behavior. The research investigated gender differences and differences based on BDSM engagement on the sexual motivations, as well as an interaction between gender and BDSM engagement for all motivations.
Emotional Intelligence in BDSM
Using Dr. Daniel Goleman’s four quadrants of Emotional Intelligence (EI), this presentation will illustrate how EI skills can support more fulfilling BDSM experiences and how EI skills cultivated through BDSM can be applied to other parts of life.
What Does It Mean to be Kink-identified? The Structure of Kink Identity
Richard Sprott, Jules Ostro, Eloora Vilkin, Dane Schnittman, Julius Orejudos, & Lyle Swallow
The Kink Identity and Sexuality Study (KISS) analyzes in-depth interviews from 72 people in the San Francisco Bay Area to discover the dimensions of kink identity, as well as map developmental trajectories and milestones for kinky peoples’ sexual development. This presentation presents a current analysis of the interviews, identifying four large dimensions of kink identity, around which kink-identified people vary: Sex, Power, Community, Headspace
Barriers to and Benefits of Kink Community Participation in an International Online Sample
Sam D. Hughes & KIana Namaki
The reasons for kink community involvement among kinky people have received limited academic attention, with a few notable exceptions. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no academic study has asked kinky people who are not part of in-person kink communities to describe their reasons for not participating. To fill this gap in the literature, we conducted an online international anonymous survey of 162 kinky people involved in a local community and 102 kinky people not involved in a local community and asked them to provide their open-ended reasons for their participation or lack thereof. Kink community members identified developing a sense of kinship, social networking, positive emotional benefits, friendship, liberation, education, safety, self-discovery, and social support as commonly cited reasons for their involvement. Non-involved kinky people identified logistics, introversion, not fitting in, distaste for perceived features of the community, outing concerns, safety, and preferring online interactions as reasons for their non-involvement. The implications for creating, developing, and maintaining happy, positive, healthy kink communities will be discussed as well as community-oriented strategies for supporting kinky people’s mental health.
Reflecting the voices of Sex Workers in Southern California; Navigating the Strengths & Challenges of Work-Life Balance
Denice Palacios, Jessica Hernandez, & Patricia Rivas
This qualitative research study highlights the strengths and challenges of work-life balance among individuals working in various aspects of the sex industry in Southern California. Highlighting the voices of 18 diverse sex workers (women, men, and trans-identified), we illustrate the ways in which these individuals navigate their work life, their personal life, their decision-making process for disclosing their work to friends, family, and intimate partners, the challenges they face in their personal relationships, and the ways in which they negotiate tensions they experience. Using a life time-line approach, we also examine the ways in which their connections to various institutions (education, prison, social services, healthcare, etc.) over time inform and shape their ability to prioritize between their work (career and ambition) and their lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, relationships and spiritual development).
The Challenges and Pitfalls of Obtaining Sex Positive Healthcare: Patient and Provider Perspective
Charles Mosier, PhD, MD & Susan Wright
Panel Presentation: Some healthcare practitioners see kink identified patients as a marginalized group and wish to reach out. Nevertheless, the practitioners often make blunders that may enfranchise some kink practitioners but further alienate others. This panel will discuss the problems and potential solutions, so these individuals will be able to access nonjudgmental care and help healthcare providers provide sex-positive healthcare.
Journal of Positive Sexuality: Editorial Board Q&A
Jeremy N. Thomas PhD, DJ Williams PhD, Emily Prior MA, Jennifer Vencill PhD, R. Todd Hartle PhD
Panel Presentation: Meet the Editorial Board of the Journal of Positive Sexuality. They will briefly review what the journal has accomplished and then discuss the future of this publication. The audience is encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation.
Increasing Intimacy with Mindfulness
Non-judgemental, moment to moment awareness, or mindfulness, increases satisfaction and well-being when one brings focus to themselves and their surroundings. The brain is trained to have greater control and attention so one can better steer the ship of their life towards meaningful experiences. The practices of mindfulness include tools that everyone can use to increase satisfaction and happiness, encouraging progress and growth individually and within relationships.
Polyamory Personality: Current and Future Research
Are particular personalities prone to polyamory? Are non-monogamous folks more open, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, or neurotic? Are they more intuitive or sensing, more feeling or thinking, more perceptive, or judging? Are there other measures where they differ? A limited number of studies have examined these questions, offering a few tentative answers and a lot more avenues for future study. This research can help deepen personal understanding, dispel social stigma, and improve care for these communities.
Activism for Introverts
Yosenio V Lewis
Poster Presentation: Many activists for Sexual Liberation are introverted, yet wish to be at the forefront of the fight for justice. Sometimes introversion blocks us from doing the best work we can. In an effort to fit in, we take on more than our bodies and psyches can tolerate. Reaching our highest potential to effect change requires superior techniques for self-care. The presentation will showcase opportunities to discover, honor, and implement strategies that nourish us and increase our potential to do meaningful justice work.
A Qualitative Study of Women's Use of Vibrators
While there is a fair amount of quantitative information surrounding women’s use of vibrators, there is a notable lack of qualitative information about women’s lived experiences using vibrators. This presentation is based on responses gathered from a qualitative study conducted through a Sociology of Human Sexuality course. I will discuss women’s perceptions of vibrators, how vibrators play a role in their sexuality and share real-life stories of women and their vibrators.
2018 SexPosCon Presenter Bios
Michelle is in her specialization year of the Master of Social Work program at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU), where she also earned a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies.
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She received her B.A. in political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and currently works as a graduate and teaching assistant at MNSU. Michelle’s research interests include gender, sexuality, mindfulness, and policy advocacy regarding the care and treatment of intersex infants and children. Michelle is currently an MSW intern at the Transgender and Intersex Specialty Care Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Dan Copulsky is a research assistant and lead presenter with the Center for Positive Sexuality.
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Along with presenting on sexuality and consent to college students, he has presented original research at the Alternative Sexualities Conference and the PCA/ACA National Conference. He is also the founding editor of SexEdPlus.com, a collection of sex-positive infographics and comics.
JoJo “Bear” DeRodrigo is a Somatic Sex Coach and Educator who uses sexological bodywork, breathwork, movement, and coaching to assist people with everything from shame and trauma to discovering pleasure in the body.
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JoJo is also a Clinical Hypnotherapist who uses hypnosis, guided imagery, and NLP in his practice. JoJo uses a technique called “HYPNO-MASSAGE” which integrates hypnosis and bodywork for healing as well as working on specific matters. He facilitates workshops all over the country that revolve around intimacy, sexuality, and pleasure. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but now lives and has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit JoJo’s website at Metamorphic Embodiment or his blog at Sex Talk with JoJo Bear.
Jessica Hernandez began her career by interning at Journey Out, a non-profit that works with sex trafficking victims in May 2015, as a Social Welfare intern, while she was a student at California State University Northridge.
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Jessica is trained in anti-oppressive social work and has worked as an intern with over 200+human trafficking victims & sex workers doing case management, translating for Spanish monolingual clients, and advocating LGBTQ sex awareness. After graduating in 2016 with her Bachelors’s in Social Welfare Jessica started working with special needs and foster care children, while still volunteering at Journey Out facilitating our “HealingThrough Arts” classes every Tuesday for a year. Jessica was officially hired at Journey Out August 2017 as a Crisis Case Manager and has been certified in Human Trafficking Case Managing.
Sam Hughes is a Ph.D. student in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Politics, Culture, and Identity Lab.
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Sam studies the psychology of sexual minorities in the context of the social world, focusing especially on kinky people and LGBTQ youth. In particular, he explores the origins of kinky sexual desires, as well as the impacts of minority stress processes (like stigma, concealment, and self-pathologization), sexual minority community participation, intersectionality, and sexual identity development on sexual minority mental health outcomes. He’s also interested in how discrimination, policies, and diagnostic criteria from powerful institutions like prisons and psychiatric medicine can harmfully pathologize diversity in human sexuality. His work also investigates the content of sexual fantasies and representations of kinky behavior in pornography. Beyond his research, he is at the same time an active member of the kink community and has taught workshops related to negotiation, erotic hypnosis, BDSM safety, and controversial issues in consent.
Dr. Jeana Jorgensen is a scholar, writer, and sex educator who provides accurate, shame-free information that is culturally contextualized but also accessible.
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She works at the intersections of folklore, anthropology, and gender studies to help people contextualize their embodied experiences and integrate the knowledge of storytelling into their lives. Her areas of research include gender and sexuality in fairy tales, non-monogamy, relationship communication, narrative, body image, and shame. Currently, Dr. Jorgensen is teaching at Butler University and Indiana University. She has written for MySexProfessor.com, kinkly.com, CondomMonologues.com, and YourTango.com in addition to her own blogs, primarily The Foxy Folklorist at Patheos.com.
The word “LaTerra” means the Earth which is why there’s no surprise LaTerra McDaniels has made it her mission to save the earth through sex-positivity.
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Since 2013 she’s been a dedicated volunteer with the Center for Positive Sexuality. Initially joining to support behind the scenes, she’s become a driving force at CPS as board secretary, providing social media support, and as an events coordinator. LaTerra also serves as a volunteer sex educator for the Center speaking on panels about body image, polyamory, and BDSM. When it comes to sex education her passions are self-love, body positivity, ecosexuality, and advocating for performers in the adult film industry. LaTerra created the presentation How Being Sex-Positive Can Save the World which she was invited to present at the UC Santa Cruz Ecosex Symposium in 2017. She also led a presentation for Catalyst Con West called RT This: How Cyberbullying is Impacting Women of Color in Porn. LaTerra was recently invited as a guest speaker for the educational seminar series during the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas this past January. She’s excited to be presenting a new and improved version of How Being Sex-Positive Can Save the World at SexPosCon in May.
Keegan Mills is a master’s student of sociology at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.
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His research to date has revolved around stigmatized sexuality and gender groups. His other interests include intimate partner selection, social identity development, and the negotiation of sexual consent.
Leigh Montavon is a Sex Coach and Clinical Sexologist, as well as a writer, educator, speaker, and mother.
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She specializes in working with and is strongly connected to, the LGBTQIA+, kink, and non-monogamous communities. Leigh offers sex and relationship coaching to individuals in the Los Angeles area and via Skype from anywhere in the world. You can read her twice-monthly column, “Ask Sex Coach Leigh,” on the Take Back Your Sex blog. She has presented at Catalyst Con and hosts and facilitates a monthly women’s/genderqueer/non-binary polyamory discussion group. Leigh believes that healthy sexuality is key to a happy life, and she deeply values body positivity, sex positivity, comprehensive sex education, intersectional feminism, and social justice.
Denice Palacios is an MSW graduate from California State University, Fullerton.
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As an independent researcher, she engages in qualitative research that explores the lives of women, men, trans folks working in the sex industry. She uses her lived experiences and education to empower others to share their stories.
Ariella Fiore has been having sex while fat for almost 3 decades.
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Not only is it possible, enjoyable, and beautiful, it is even FUN. She is convinced she’ll be able to share her secrets with you. Having dabbled in sex education from the time she joined a traveling theater troupe in college, performing in a show all around the country to help spread messages of acceptance, sexual orientation, and safer sex practices to most recently as a sex educator and consultant, Ariella loves to not only talk but teach about sex. She is also no stranger to education, having been a camp counselor, teen mentor, elementary school teacher, and mother as well. This is Ariella’s first presentation at a conference but has spent her life on stage and in front of the camera, pretending to be someone she’s not. However, her presentation is all about not pretending, but being proud and confident of exactly who you are and taking it to the sheets. A bisexual, fat, middle-aged, Latina woman who owns her size and sexuality, she is ready to teach fellow fat people how to find their confidence in the bedroom.
Kiana Namaki is an undergraduate student double majoring in psychology and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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She is a research assistant for Project SPEAK (Sexual and Personal Experiences Among Kinksters) in the Politics, Culture, and Identity Lab. Kiana takes a critical and feminist approach to psychology that is deeply informed by social justice scholarship and activism towards transformational change. Her research interests include intersections of race-ethnicity, social class, and nationality in gender and sexual identity development. She is interested in the interactions of medical, legal, and cultural contexts for clinical practices. She considers the role of false consciousness, pathologization, and stigma in the mental health outcomes and well-being of marginalized sexual and gender minority groups (particularly sex workers, trans and non-binary, and/or kink-identified people of color). Kiana has a desire to create effective mental health interventions, through advocacy and alliance, for marginalized and stigmatized groups within the context of clinical psychology.